Enrollment Management: How to Achieve Optimal Growth

Liz Kistner - Monday, October 27, 2014

An enrollment management plan is essential to the success of every university.  The ability to anticipate change, understand the dynamics of the world around us and infuse components such as institutional marketing, institutional mission, student recruitment, academic advising, curriculum and program development are critical in a strategic plan built for success.  Build your plan with 5 key elements: 

1.  Build a strong foundation from the ground up with a strategic plan that clarifies the mission, vision, and values of the institution.  A plan that brings all stakeholders together for the betterment of the institution.  Why does the institution exist, what is the purpose, character and culture? What needs will the institution fill?

2.  Assess your enrollment operations, understand the cost to recruit a student, and allocate your resources efficiently using key performance indicators. Examples of KPI's may include the economy, local demographics, competition, institutional programs, student attributes as well as recruitment KPI's - number of prospects, inquirers, applicants, retention KPI's - number of persisters, cohorts, drop-outs and/or operational KPI's - dollar revenue, head count, dollar/responses expenditures. 

3.  Data collection and analytics will help you make informed decisions, reach desired results by setting specific, measurable benchmarks.  Metrics will gauge the effectiveness of what you are doing: build on insights.  Track and measure channel effectiveness, understand acquisition, retention and nurture processes and incorporate best practices for each through tracking mechanisms (CRM, Automated Platform, Google, Qualitative/Quantitative Research). 

4.  What systems and services do you currently have in place to support staff and students, and foster communication?  A carpenter would never be without tools which are essential to his/her success: tool belt, hammer, tape measure.  Does your team  have the tools (skills, proper training and support) in place for successful outcomes? Review policies, procedures and facilitate system efficiencies to maintain a strong infrastructure

5.  Utilize tactics and strategies to reach desired outcomes. Identify overarching strategies to guide planning and develop an action and support plan, and determine specific tactics and action items to ensure the plan is operational, supported, realistic, and sustainable.  Use experiences, best practices, plans and processes to produce clear deliverables. Deliverables that include people, tools, and time.

Having an enrollment plan in place that articulates a focused, strategic, and future oriented framework (strategic plan, KPI's, analytics, infrastructure, tactics/strategies)will help you achieve optimal growth.

Reference:  A Structure for SEM Planning by Bontrager and Green