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The Data Disadvantage

The Data Disadvantage

When it comes to understanding the likelihood of enrollment of an individual applicant, admissions directors are at a severe disadvantage.

Don’t get me wrong – those of us who are or have been in that seat have a reasonable handle on high-level data.  But when considering each applicant individually, each student’s admissions counselor has much more information than the admissions director.

This needs to change.

Correcting this structural challenge will allow admissions directors to make progress in three key areas:

  • Better direct admissions counselors on what to do next to achieve enrollment goals
  • More accurately forecast enrollment numbers, relying on data instead of feelings
  • Redeploy investments of time, money, and attention mid-cycle with more precision

Think about it – an admissions director might be able to quickly get the significant markers of enrollment a student has gone through – but that’s not enough. 

The admissions counselor knows the tone of voice the student has when discussing their potential major. 

The admissions counselor watched the interpersonal dynamic between student and parent at the college fair table or during a visit. 

The admissions counselor knows whether the student answers the phone or not.

Short of covering every college fair and campus visit, admissions directors can’t experience those things.  But they can, and should, quickly level out the data disadvantage.  By developing a system to accurately capture major and minor markers of interest , admissions directors can understand a student’s true behavioral metrics. 

For most of us, 1:1 meetings with counselors begin with an overview of the funnel and then move into an anecdotal assessment from the counselor about how they feel about their territory. 

When there is a disconnect between the trends in front of the admissions director and the counselor’s feelings, we’re at an impasse.  It’s too easy for the counselor to identify exceptions to the rule, recent conversations, and a general sense that students are moving slower this year.

Admissions directors who build a data regime that captures minor markers of interest will be able to take that frustratingly unproductive 1:1 conversation and increase yield beyond what has historically been possible.

Teege Mettille
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