This piece follows “Five Barriers to Yield Improvement” and focuses on the fourth barrier.
By the time your counselor knows a student is losing interest, it’s probably too late to bring them back.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
I’ve reflected before that the enrollment process can be thought of as a marathon with a low completion (yield) rate. A marathon where runners can and do stop at any point when they determine that they’ve run far enough.
Every step of the 26.2-mile journey could be the moment a prospective student stops out. Yet, in admissions, we have trained counselors to intervene in the most significant steps: completing your application, submitting a FAFSA, and visiting campus. These are good areas to focus on, but it amounts to watching mile markers 5, 15, and 25 along the marathon route to increase the completion rate.
By the time a student doesn’t show up at mile marker 15 by not submitting a FAFSA … there’s a good chance that they’re already gone! They could have walked off the course at miles 6.4, 7.9, 8.3, 9.5, 10.1, 11.7, 13.6, or any other point along the journey.
Sure, a calling campaign to get students to submit the FAFSA will pull a few folks who have recently stepped off the course back in and propel them forward.
But by the time you realize they haven’t submitted the FAFSA, it may be far too late to bring that student back.
To improve yield, your admissions counselors must watch the entire 26.2-mile route and identify when students are falling off the course.
Watching web traffic activity, monitoring email and click-through rates, recording who answers the phone when you call, and identifying who does and does not reply to a text message from a current student. When calibrated correctly, all of these can be earlier tells that a student’s interest is fading.
Significant milestones are essential. Watch them, as I’m sure you have been for several years. But doing it again isn’t going to improve yield – it will hold it steady.
To improve yield, look for the less significant milestones a prospective student doesn’t meet, and intervene then. If you do it well, each student will move further down the enrollment process, including a few who otherwise would have gone elsewhere.
“To improve yield, your admissions counselors must watch the entire 26.2-mile route and identify when students are falling off the course.”