I just spoke to the VP for Enrollment Management at a large college. She informed me that enrollment looked slightly down from projections for Spring 2009 “now that the enrollment period is over”.
OVER? Enrollment is over? Is she nuts? Are the other seven out of ten administrators I spoke to who had similar thoughts also crazed? Is there some academic Alzheimer’s out there that affects the brains of college and university administrators when it comes to enrollment?
Enrollment is not over. It is barely underway at the second unique event of a multi-year process. Just look at the chart above. Enrollment is not an event. It doesn’t end when a student signs an application, sends in a deposit and shows up on the start of classes day. It is a process, a continuum that starts with marketing and pauses at graduation. The real work of enrollment we call retention is just really beginning.
It’s the pet rock thing again. If admissions sells 100 pet rocks on Monday and 98 are returned on Wednesday, how many pet rocks were sold? Just 2!
So here is the process in its 8 steps as shown in the chart above. BTW, click on it and it will open larger in another window. Or so I was told.
- Marketing on-going
- Application - unique event
- Decision on-going
- Stitch In on-going
- Show unique event
- Retention on-going
- Graduation unique event
- Alumnus on-going leading to another retention process called fundraising.
The process starts and contuse with marketing throughout the entire enrollment process. Marketing does not have to be the expensive activity of external advertising purchase but it does need to be as vigorous after the sale as before. Students need to be sold on their choice of your school every day. And if possible, every minute of the day. Keep Students can make a buying decision “should I stay or leave?”- every day, every class, every encounter with people, the campus or even a mention of the school. Students decide to attend or skip a class based on whether or not they feel it provides value, or the prof is nice, mean, indifferent or even if they just are motivated, apathetic or upset by something. Skip classes and the decision to leave and end enrollment is underway.
Internal marketing can be as obvious as events, athletics, newspapers, newsletters slipped under doors or hung in bathrooms. The campus or building objective correlatives are also potential marketing statements that will influence buying decisions. Clean, safe campuses , walkways, good signs and even bathrooms are important.
POCmarks are also decision and buying points. If students encounter good customer service at the POCmarks, they are reinforced in their decision to stay – to self-retain. If they encounter weak, indifferent or poor academic customer service, well, that can end the enrollment process.
Repeat this mantra for success and greater happiness. Enrollment ends at graduation. Enrollment ends at graduation. Enrollment ends at graduation.
My work is just underway; not over. My work is just underway; not over.
I will retain students. I will retain students.
More on the enrollment process and its parts next time. No that does not have to be repeated. And if you want a copy of the chart, just click here and let me know.
TO SUCCEED EVERY DAY IN ALL AREAS, GET A COPY OF MY NEW BOOK THE POWER OF RETENTION: MORE CUSTOMER SERVICE IN HIGHER EDUCATION by clicking here.
“We had hoped we’d improve our retention by 3% but with the help of Dr. Raisman, we increased it by 5%.” Rachel Albert, Provost, University of Maine-Farmington
“Neal led a retreat that initiated customer service and retention as a real focus for us and gave us a clear plan. Then he followed up with presentations and workshops that kicked us all into high gear. We recommend with no reservations; just success.” Susan Mesheau, Executive Director U First: Integrated
“Thank you so much for the wonderful workshop at Lincoln Technical Institute. It served to re-center ideas in a great way. I perceived it to be a morale booster, breath of fresh air, and a burst of passion.” Shelly S, Lincoln Technical Institute
AcademicMAPS has been providing customer service, retention, enrollment and research training and solutions to colleges, universities and career colleges in the US, Canada, and Europe as well as to businesses that seek to work with them since 1999. Clients range from small rural schools to major urban universities and corporations. Its services range from campus customer service audits, workshops, training, presentations, institutional studies and surveys to research on customer service and retention. AcademicMAPS prides itself on its record of success for its clients and students who are aided through the firm’s services. CALL OR EMAIL TODAY TO SEE HOW WE CAN HELP INCREASE YOUR SCHOOL'S RETENTION