Colleges and universities are certainly taking some lumps these days.  Between regular DOE battles, Presidential tweets aimed at schools, financial aid reporting, and retention woes, higher education did not need an admissions scandal.  Last year’s Harvard admissions lawsuit may still sting a bit, but the deception and lies associated with these wealthy individuals buying their children’s way into top-tier institutions really put a stain on admissions and enrollment.

So let’s look at something a bit more positive.  Let’s look at how to help keep more of those prospective students the right way.  A better way, even.  For this recipe you’ll only need two things: good software and good people.

TouchPoint2Let’s start with people.  The following tip is going to save you a bunch of money, while even making money moving forward.  It’s about “touch points.” 

Hire a consulting firm to discuss how to yield more students and one of the big finds you are likely going to hear surrounds touch points.  In other words, the more contact you have with prospective students, in various forms, the better.  One school we recently talked to said that a very costly consultation found one simple factor to help them in this regard: have contact with the prospect.  The numbers were obvious.  If a representative from the school had a meaningful encounter with the prospect, they were 80% likely to enroll.  However, if no meaningful experience took place, the prospect was more than 50% likely to enroll elsewhere.

So the school had done what all schools would likely do.  They created more “touch point” opportunities.  They trained faculty and staff alike to ensure that every potential student on the tour, at an event, or at a fair were meaningfully communicated with.  It has worked beautifully, save one major area: students who never visit.  How do you have those meaningful “touch point” encounters with a student who is not on campus?  It may be a fully online student, a student who cannot afford to travel to your institution, or someone who is simply shy.  How do you get your people – your best assets – in front of those prospective students when you cannot see them face to face.

TouchPointEnter the second part of the recipe: software.  Namely, the solution.  This is exactly what Campus was designed for.  The entire reason our tag line is “Beyond a Portal” is simple. While we do have all of the functionality of a portal, connecting people to systems and content and support, Campus also connects people to people.

So, suddenly you have the ability for “meaningful touch points” to happen via the community part of the platform.  Want to train up some Student Ambassadors or even Alumni Ambassadors?  Fantastic idea.  Then, place them in the Prospects part of the system so that they can interact with pre-students.  Want non-traditional students to know they will not be alone as they come to your school or take online classes?  Create a group of non-traditional students (or segment them however you would like) so they can meet and greet one another via integrated video conferencing.  Want students to get specific, tailored help and communication around things like the FAFSA or application materials?  Tie content to groups so that counselors can do their magic via posts, chat, and IM.  Help connect International students, working students, and anyone else who might struggle to be easily “touched” through a modern system that promotes communication.

TouchPoint3There is a reason most portals have no ROI.  They are only measured by efficiency (if at all) and typically only be technologists instead of students, faculty, or staff.  Shouldn’t your system be able to identify ROI for retention, affinity, and yes, even enrollment?  

We hope you will ask for more information to find out more about how we support the most important metrics at your institution.