For college enrollment, things have changed quickly over the last few months, let alone the past decade. Not only are communication methods constantly changing, but so are students’ goals and priorities.
On top of that, there seems to be millions of new strategies and tactics to try out. Through all the noise, it can feel impossible to know what to implement while having confidence in the results. Meeting student enrollment goals can feel like an uphill battle.
You can finally stop worrying.
At the end of the day, increasing application volume is made successful by a combination of education and grade A conversion optimization. Luckily, between your education skills and our communication and conversion optimization skills, we’ve got everything covered.
We’ve rounded up some of our top, proven methods to increase your application volume and enrollments. These are our top three tips, but if you want our full guide, scroll to the bottom and get a copy for free!
#1: Secure an appropriate budget for enrollment
To be frank, most universities don’t budget nearly enough for enrollment marketing activities. If there’s not enough money to allow you to properly bring in new students, it’s inevitable that you’ll face a drop in enrollment at some point.
Top enrollment professionals recommend allocating about 1% of your total revenue as a school for enrollment activities. If your budget isn’t in the one percent range, then you’re stuck battling the odds. And unless you have an incredibly strong presence in your community and beyond, Lady Luck won’t be in your favor.
It’s been proven that schools that invest in enrollment marketing are growing their numbers, while those who are investing the bare minimum continue to shrink year after year.
So how do you calculate what 1% of your total revenue as a school looks like? Here’s an example: If you’re a school who has 8,000 students with a yearly tuition/government aid of $7,000 per student, then you should have at least $560,000 for enrollment activities each year.
If this sounds high, trust us when we say it’s not. The average cost in the United States to secure an application according to the Dept. of Ed is $450 per application. When you take into account the fact that most applications don’t result in enrolled students, you realize that your budget needs to account for a much higher percentage of applications in order to achieve your target enrollments.
Using the earlier example, $560,000 would presumably result in about 1,245 applications (assuming your application cost is in the average $450 range). Out of those 1,245 applications, maybe 20% actually enroll. That’s about 250 new students.
So what’s the great news? Those 250 students will generate about $1,750,000 in new revenue for your school each year. That’s a pretty worthwhile investment, right?
#2: Utilize many communication channels
For students who have already expressed interest, the best and most preferred ways to share detailed information is still through email and direct mail. That said, there are numerous other channels you should consider – especially when it comes to first introducing your school.
It’s important to realize there are far more potential students who have not yet expressed interest compared to those who have. So, how do you get in front of a lot of prospective students at the same time without drowning them in information?
Glad you asked.
Digital advertising is worth the investment when done well. Just make sure you do it right. We’ll expand on how to do it “right” in our next tip.
Google Ads, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok are all worthwhile platforms to utilize. It’s important to meet the students where they are. Do some research and find out what’s most relevant to them and how they consume content.
These platforms are also fantastic ways to market to students completely for free. Once you understand what their values are and what messages resonate with them, you can start posting messages that aren’t paid for. This will allow you to start generating a little bit of free exposure and help stretch your budget further.
#3: Focus on the values students care about
This tip is probably the most important piece of advice we can leave you with. You can use this tip without the first or second points in this article, but both of those things make this one far more effective.
It can be incredibly tempting to focus primarily on all the great aspects of your university. But don’t do it.
That’s right, we’re telling you not to focus your messaging around your campus, your culture, your offerings, or your great extracurriculars. Sounds crazy, right? Let us explain…
Like all great marketing, it’s the “features” that tell but the benefits that sell. Make the students the focal point of your advertising and communications.
For example, instead of something like, “Sea Sails University has been ranked the most beautiful campus 4 years in a row!” you’d say, “Discover your new home by the sea and be inspired by the beauty that surrounds you as you unlock your future.”
Your offerings are important. But what students actually get and how they benefit is most important.
Our team has been able to help universities and colleges across the country increase applications and enrollments. The tips mentioned above have played fundamental roles in our success. If you’d like to keep reading and get our full guide to boosting student enrollment, you can grab it for free by clicking here.
And, of course, if you have any questions or would like us to create a custom strategy for you, please reach out!