Higher education institutions find it increasingly important to advance in a technological world to improve their enrollment rate. Fortunately, using technology to support prospective students can help. Various technologies, such as progress tracking, communication plugins, and CRM functionalities for higher education institutions, exist to improve the enrollment process and retention rates.
So in which stages of enrollment can we use this technology to support prospective students, and how do they help? In this guide, we'll explore the many challenges in enrollment and how your higher education institution can use data analytics and insight technologies to increase engagement and student retention.
Enrollment Challenges in Higher Education
Enrollment processes can often be challenging when higher education institutions still operate manually or need more sufficient technology. Some examples may include siloed decision-making and knowledge due to manual prospect data collection and scattered data, which made people lose track of communications and the enrollment process as a whole.
Let's take a deeper look at some challenges in enrollment that may prevent higher education institutions from creating an ideal student experience.
Breakdowns in Communication
Gaps in enrollment communication are one of the main challenges higher education institutions experience. This gap may include a difference between what the institution offers and what prospective students want and need. Administration staff may also lose track of prospective students due to manually recording data about them. This process might lead to staff members needing to continually record the same information, making it easy for data to get misplaced, mixed up, or forgotten if someone forgets to record it.
Thes communication gaps take away from the personalized experience prospects need, and institution personnel may find it challenging to remember how to meet the prospect's needs best. To improve communication, enrollment managers can analyze target prospects and record communications in a central place to keep track of all information.
Confusion About the Enrollment Process
Prospective students rely on information from your institution about the enrollment process. Without clear directions, aspects of enrollment like application requirements, financial aid, and course registration can become barriers. These challenges can potentially delay and even prevent enrollment for prospective students.
Some student populations, such as first-generation college students, may require extra guidance during the enrollment period. Since they may not have a guardian or family member to guide them through the process, they might miss essential steps and requirements. Without the right support, you might lose these prospects.
It's very common for traditional institutions to have their staff handle tasks and one-on-one communication with prospects on their own. As a result, they may notice data silos within the institution. When handing a task over to the next person, they may forget to disclose certain information that enrollment staff need to make an informed decision.
Higher education institutions can reduce siloed knowledge and communication by implementing a central system to store all the information for everyone involved in the enrollment process to access. This information may reside safely within the student's records to help improve the enrollment process.
Technology Solutions to Connect With Prospective Students
Is your institution experiencing one of the above challenges? Then it may be time to find technological solutions to support your prospective students. Prospects want institutions to prioritize them and their needs from beginning to end. Using technology for prospective students can help you create a linear process that makes them more eager to enroll.
If you are facing communication challenges, incorporate software that keeps track of and ensures prospective students receive personalized communications from your staff. This solution ensures that staff are responding to all enrollees from their first encounter to enrollment and even beyond graduation. This also allows advisors to gain a deeper understanding of their advisees, allowing them to store data about prospective students and know where they are in the pipeline.
You can also have your staff use software that allows them to build and send out engaging personalized messages that you can use for mass communication to a group of targeted prospects. This is a great way to encourage prospects, make them feel important, and provide them with clear and organized information about the actions they should take.
Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics
Using predictive and prescriptive analytics technology may be helpful to improve the enrollment process as a whole. Predictive analytics enables you to calculate what may happen in the future. For instance, this may include a student's risk level based on the information you possess. Prescriptive analytics include the actions you can take now to solve issues and improve enrollment. This software can help administrators at your higher education institution understand and meet students' recruitment needs and enhance marketing campaigns.
To solve the issue of siloed information, institutions can use pipeline technology to track and configure the stages of enrollment each prospective student is in. All the necessary professionals will have access to the pipeline so they can see where the student is within it, send messages within the group to help prospects reach the end, and make adjustments to the process if needed. This software will record all communications within the pipeline and automate most processes.
A great technology solution is to streamline the decision-making process with the help of pipeline software that has reporting functionalities. This technology will provide detailed reports on every stage of the enrollment pipeline to help staff members understand where they should support prospective students and how they can improve those aspects of the pipeline. Some reports you can expect include:
- Total number of people enrolled by term
- Prospect to applicant rate
- Completion rate for new students in the first term
- Applicant to enrollment yield rate
Another great way to reduce siloed communication is by managing and tracking prospective student engagement through email messages about the application process, appointments, and enrollment campaigns. Some great software to use is one with message logging and a Gmail plugin for all staff. This helps ensure that the prospect's entire support team has good knowledge of the prospect and can make informed decisions when needed.
Ensuring Support From Prospect to Enrollee
Leveraging technology is one of the best ways to enhance the enrollment experience for students and institutional staff. It's of critical importance to manage enrollment data and tools effectively to create a smooth enrollment process to support prospective students.
We recommend ensuring student support from prospect to enrollee with Watermark. Our Student Success & Engagement platform can help capture prospect data and improve the student experience. This platform is a high-quality student-centered technology that encourages a simpler and more streamlined process. Learn how we can help your higher education institution use technology to support prospective students or request a demo with us today.
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