6 min read
Yield Events Dos and Don'ts: Lessons learned from the enrollmentFUEL Yield Roundtable
It is August, and in the enrollment management world, we’ve wrapped up another Yield season. Hopefully, for you and your team, it has been fruitful—that things went right, and you discovered new ways to connect with admitted students. As you kick off the new academic year, however, it’s not too early to start thinking about next spring when Yield will once again be at the forefront of our minds. Early planning can yield early results (pun only slightly intended).
Lucky for you, we are here to share some Yield lessons, specifically about Yield events, from EM leaders who gathered at our REV Roundtable event earlier this spring. The discussion, which also featured topics such as deposit incentives, timing of deposits, and admitted student communication, was attended by a broad spectrum of enrollmentFUEL partner institutions.
A big focus in all of the breakout rooms was the efficiency and efficacy of Yield events or, as many of us lovingly refer to them, Admitted Student Days (ASD). When asked in a poll, 95% of Roundtable participants said they have held or would be holding on-campus ASD events this year, and only 5% responded that they do not have any yield events planned. That being said, everyone around the Zoom table expressed concerns or doubts about whether the way they have always conducted these events is the best way.
Ideas about improving on-campus admitted student events were buzzing on the Zoom screen, and since we are all about sharing, we wanted to pass along some of them so you, too, could make your next Yield Season pop.
DON’T use a generic, nondescript name for the event.
DO make it different; give it a memorable name!
Most events will, in fact, be called Admitted Student Days, but what if they are something different? Give your event an exciting name that tells students and their families what they should expect. Make it specific to your campus by using your mascot or another recognizable feature in the name. Below are a few examples:
- A Lion For a Day: An event that takes admitted students behind the scenes of what it’s like to be a student on your campus.
- One-on-One with the Dolphins: An individualized experience that gives admitted students the chance to meet in person with financial aid, athletics, their future academic department or advisor, etc.
- Meet Your Quad Squad Day: Introduce admitted students to all the hangout spots around campus where they can engage with each other, potentially finding their future roommates.
Whatever name or theme you choose, make it memorable and make it yours!
DON’T aim for a large crowd.
DO think smaller.
As EM professionals, we tend to measure success in volume. Yet, when it comes to events for admitted students, maybe there is a way to flip the script and rethink the ASD experience to make it as small and personal as possible. Instead of one four-hour block of time with a large group, have 1-1 events for admitted students over the period of a week. Engage them individually, roll out the red carpet (literal red carpet wins a bonus gold star!), or create the event around their personal interests. You will never hear students or their families complain that something was too personalized, so go all out!
DON’T host the typical academic session.
DO rethink how outside departments can be involved.
Setting up rows of tables and having faculty staff them during an hour-long academic session at the gym is all right, but how about showcasing what your academic departments can do in a different way? Do an on-screen newscast for your Comms department, a speed-dating session for your Psychology department, an escape room organized by your Theatre department with all of their props, lift some fingerprints off of desks with your Chemistry department, or have an egg drop challenge with the Physics faculty. Imagining their academic experience as exciting and out-of-the-box will create lasting memories and attachments for the students and their families.
DON’T forget to ask for commitment.
DO make the ask consistently and persistently.
Outside of size, the number of commitments collected is the other measure of a successful ASD event. So, plan for how you will make that ask, make it as easy as possible for the families to pay the deposit while at the event, and create a celebratory moment for all whenever a student says “Yes” to the College! Set up a photo booth station with a backdrop and the mascot standing by, call out the names of committed students during various events (with their permission, of course), hand out gift bags to deposited students AND have some ready to hand out to ones who make the decision during the event—all are great ways to provide fun incentives. Additionally, communicate the urgency behind deciding soon in various ways to all audiences: to students, to families, to students and families together. Make the ask and give them the chance to respond.
DON’T limit your communications with admitted students.
DO treat them like inquiries again.
Yes, they have been through the entire funnel. They have filled out the application, received the acceptance letter, and reviewed their financial aid award letter. They have done all the transactional tasks that apply. Now, it’s time to bring them back to transformational messaging once again. Remind them why they looked at your campus in the first place. Show them how they will be welcomed and embraced by the campus community. Introduce them to who they will be working with/studying with/living with so they can see it in their mind. When you have them as a captive audience on campus, don’t just focus on their next steps; make the main message their next four years.
Whatever direction you choose to take your next admitted student event or yield event, now is the time to rethink how to make it more COMPELLING. Our industry often becomes complacent, and it is hard to change or think outside the box. Yet, change and think outside the box we must! Students and families have been progressively becoming savvier consumers, and they expect more than a tour of campus and a session in an overcrowded auditorium before cafeteria lunch, especially if they are to do the same all over again next week at another college. While resources and budgets can be tight, and large portions of funds, time, and effort are often dedicated to the top stages of the funnel with Search, generating applications, and completing applications, Yield should not be an afterthought. Planning ahead for your Yield events and setting things in motion now for next Spring can give you the advantage you need to convert your admitted pool into the class you would like to see on your campus next fall.
About the Authors
Jazmane Brown is a seasoned pro in the world of college admissions with over 15 years of experience under her belt. Most recently, she served as Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management and Director of Admissions at Xavier University of Louisiana. But that's just the tip of the iceberg—Jazmane's career journey includes leadership roles such as Director of Admission at Queens University of Charlotte and Senior Associate Director of undergraduate recruitment at the University of Miami (FL). Throughout her extensive tenure in higher education, Jazmane has been all about people and their aspirations. You can reach Jazmane anytime at jazmane.brown@enrollmentFUEL.com.
Another seasoned pro, Milena Velez, brings over thirteen years of experience in the enrollment management field. Starting as an international student herself, she kicked off her journey as the Coordinator of International Recruitment at Knox College. Her path then led her through the Midwest and South, holding roles like Senior Admissions Counselor at Lake Erie College, Assistant Director of Graduate and Transfer Admission at the University of Findlay, and Director of Admission at Newberry College. Milena's passion goes beyond her work; it's about equal access to quality education for all. She believes in collaborative efforts, especially when it comes to shaping the future generation of admission counselors. You can reach Milena anytime at milena.velez@enrollmentFUEL.com.
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