Starting back in the spring, I started to get a lot of interest from colleges and universities (and departments within) about how to better understand their audience, how to develop and offer the right programs and services at the right prices in order to hit this year’s goals as well as the goals for the next few years.
This meant a lot of research – which is, obviously, what I love. Figuring out where to look for the data. What data is most appropriate in terms of relevancy and accuracy. Analyzing it all so I can come back with some practical recommendations that the client can implement with their existing strengths and resources.
Some of the projects identified fantastic opportunities – some of which were what everyone had hoped to find and others were more along the lines of “…you need to address these issues before worrying about these other opportunities in the market…”
You know, strengthening weaknesses necessary to compete more successfully.
Fortunately, the weaknesses really needed the organization to better leverage existing resources rather than having to acquire new resources and expertise.
For the tasks involved in a new student’s journey from that first inquiry with your school to their first class – who does what, how, why in order to attract and enroll student’s most likely to succeed in your institution? (In one instance, we found out that more than 25 messages were being sent to a new inquiry in the first 10 days they were in the database – and that some of the messages had information that contradicted other messages. So we streamlined the process, cleaned up the messages…and that saved $350,000 in expenses while helping increase conversion rates of inquiries to first time students!)
For data collection, storage, maintenance/hygiene, analysis, reporting – who does what, how and why in order to maintain accurate data that drives decision making?
For student retention – who does what, how and why so that you can accurately identify at-risk students early in the process and intervene in a way that helps retain the student?
These are the main areas of ‘weakness’ that typically can be improved with the team making the time to plan rather than always reacting to whatever fire drill happens during the course of the day. It’s hard. But focusing on processes does pay off in the near and long-term because you are more effective and efficient, which produces an experience for the student that is more unique, valuable, rewarding – and that helps with recruitment and retention.
The fall looks like I will be working on more of the same – and that’s really exciting. I really enjoy helping great institutions improve so that they can attract and retain students that will have their lives changed for the better by their experiences at the institution.
So if you find yourself searching for more effective ways to attract and retain successful students, feel free to give me a call. If you are wondering how you can streamline processes, play more to your strengths and away from your weaknesses and leverage your existing resources, feel free to call. I’m always happy to help.