August 21, 2022
By Dr. Harry Bloom, Senior Vice President, Client Solutions, Measuring Success
The start of the new school year is near. This is an ideal opportunity to solidify your 2022–23 enrollment management plan and prepare for implementation.
A strategic enrollment management plan is a comprehensive process designed to help your school achieve and maintain optimum recruitment, retention, and student graduation rates. A plan helps you develop a holistic understanding of your enrollment environment and provides you the ability to deploy actionable steps toward your goals.
Here are four elements to consider as you design your enrollment management plan.
No. 1—Detailed lists of the expected sources of your school’s new enrollment
A prioritized list of prime-for-enrollment target households based on similarity (“Lookalikes”) to your current enrolled households. Include contact information and target penetration goals by town, neighborhood, and demographics (income, culture, nationality).
A prioritized list of target market segments that have recently yielded new families and students due to word-of-mouth marketing—specifically noting who has the highest potential for 2022–23 enrollment growth. Relevant segments can include feeder schools, employers, neighborhoods, and religious and secular organizations.
No. 2—Validated messaging that is confirmed by firsthand market research
These validated messages should include representative members of key target market segments. You should not develop your marketing messaging based on assumptions. Instead, go directly to the source: real families who represent similar characteristics of the families you are trying to attract.
You can use this messaging in your digital and print marketing to support ambassadorial activities. For example, feature it in case studies, articles, social media, advertising, and public relations.
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No. 3—Detailed outreach plans
Create detailed outreach plans that indicate how you will deliver your key messaging themes—including evidence of your school’s performance. Specifically, note how these plans will reach individual households and market segments (as defined in No. 1 above.)
Consider involving your organized parent, student, and faculty ambassador groups to help reach key market segment members. This outreach is authentic and creates a powerful impact in your efforts.
No. 4—An information gathering and interpretation system
As you continue to draft your enrollment management plan, consider implementing an information gathering and interpretation system. This system helps you track your enrollment pipeline activity relative to the list of high-priority target household and market segments. With this valuable information, you can regularly monitor the effectiveness of your ambassadorial and marketing communication campaigns.
For example, with this system you can track the progress of achieving campus visitation, followed by application, and matriculation among prime target families and market segment members. If your anticipated results are on target, it's time to celebrate! If they are not, it may be time to redefine and implement corrective action before the end of the enrollment season.
To learn more about the four foundational elements of a comprehensive enrollment growth plan, check out our upcoming events.