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Colleges will spend hours reviewing marketing strategies and plans, detailing budgets to the last pound and producing project plans until they have no office wall space left on which to put them. But, is all of this needed? Are you focusing on the right figures? Are you spending more than you need to because you aren’t converting applicants to enrolments?

We’re all guilty of it. Focusing on the application target and then panicking at the last minute about the enrolment figures. Ideally, these two figures should be very similar, people that apply then go on to enrol and complete a course. In most colleges however, this isn’t the case. Conversion rates can vary from 30-70%, meaning that you end up spending a lot more marketing money per enrolment than you need to.

Here at EC Towers, we work with colleges to review their application and enrolment process.  We look at everything from the initial application process, the information supplied to applicants, the enrolment timings and open days… the whole thing. We often find that with a few tweaks, we can increase the conversion rate, saving thousands of pounds in marketing spend. Some of the most common areas for improvement we’ve found are:

  • Process information – make sure that applicants know what the process is, what happens when and what is expected of them. You do this every year, but this could be the first time they’ve ever had to do anything like this, so make it clear and straightforward for them.
  • Keep in touch – often we find that colleges receive the application, send out an offer letter in early spring and then don’t contact the student again until it’s enrolment time. Communication is key, don’t let them get tempted away by another college, remind them that you are there and they are expected at enrolment.
  • Keep it simple – don’t over complicate the enrolment process, make it a fun experience for the student, you don’t want to scare them off with reams and reams of unnecessary forms.
  • Review your letters – do you need to be sending letters, could it be done by email or text? When was the last time you reviewed your letters to make sure they made sense and were simple and easy to understand? Are they full of jargon? You might understand all the ‘techy’ speak, but would a student?
  • Ask for feedback – don’t be afraid to speak to your new students in September, what did they like and not like about the application and enrolment process? Can they guide you on areas that need to be improved?

With a few tweaks you can make a huge difference to the number of applications you need to achieve your enrolment targets. Take a step back and look at the process from a student’s point of view.

To download more information about our Applications & Admissions Project work, please click here.

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