As we enter the early weeks of November, whether you are up or down in your applications, admits, and deposits, we all know there’s still a long way to run in the 2020 recruiting marathon. So here are a few ideas from our team to keep you on track to meet your goals.
The FAFSA opened October 1, 2019. Look to see who in your inquiry pool has already filed a FAFSA and not applied. I used to run this report once a week, and my admission team would follow-up with all inquiries who had not applied, treating them as a HOT lead.
If you start awarding early, it’s also not too early to determine where those students may be falling on your matrix to determine where you might be up or down when it comes to meeting net tuition revenue goals. If you have begun to award, then check to see if your team is following up with students who have received packages to talk through the package. Work to uncover potential gaps that will prevent the student from enrolling later on.
Now is also a good time to keep your ear to the ground. What are you hearing about your competitors’ awards and packages? Use any information you uncover to prepare and train your team to talk through various scenarios with families.
Working Your Inquiries
While it’s great to get a head start on the students who come in early with financial aid, we also know that you have an entire inquiry pool of students who are still considering applying. Make sure you are continuing to work your inquiry pool, along with any new inquiries that come in during this time. Fresh off the road from travel, counselors should be calling to reach out, follow-up, and build relationships.
Communications during this time should also continue to encourage visits and applying for admission. If you already have a robust communication flow, consider adding in some messages about their academic areas of interest. Consider having your faculty reach out to ten students from feeder high schools or to 10 students modeled to be highly likely to enroll. It’s a personalized touch that can make a difference.
Many institutions also run application campaigns during this time. Application campaigns should include banner ads, direct mail, email, and calling as appropriate. Even if you have a partner running an application campaign for you, you need to focus internal effort on this and not rely solely on the outside partner to achieve your goal.
It’s also a good idea to push applying through social media. Your marketing office can align both planned and grassroots efforts to push students to apply. Align your big apply pushes with social and amplify the message by asking parents of current students or alumni in key areas to share these messages, expanding the audience reach.
Keeping Your Admits Engaged
Once students are admitted, it’s a great time to bring in faculty, coaches, and even current students to help the admission team build relationships and transition those marketing messages into real-life experiences. Communications to this group should include specific messages about their major of interest and activities they may want to pursue. Depending on the size of your institution, you can engage students in calls, emails, and letters from faculty, and it’s also a great time to send a note from your Chief Academic Officer.
Starting now, look for ways to make admits feel like they are already part of campus. Invite them to hear a speaker on campus. Plan admitted student events for spring on campus and in their local area.
Don’t overlook the power of student perks! During the winter season, I offered deposited students a chance to get their university athletic ID card, allowing the next class to get into games for free or at a reduced cost and buy spirit-wear at a discount. It has their name on it, an ID barcode, and the school logo. It’s one small step to helping the students feel like they are already part of the community.
Communicating directly to parents is huge this time of year at all funnel levels. Having a solid communication plan to let parents know that the university thinks their student is great helps to win the family over.
Last thought . . . Plan for a mid-year pressure valve. Next fall will have less pressure if you bring in a few more mid-year students. Utilizing all of the above tactics mid-year can prove very fruitful.