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5 Factors of Enrollment and Retention Success

5 Factors of Enrollment and Retention Success-1

Updated 10/23/2023

Imagine how awesome you'll feel this time next year when your institution's enrollment and retention numbers are where you want them to be. Getting to that place does take some work, but with a clear strategy and concerted effort, you can be optimistic that your institution is taking the best possible steps to reach your enrollment goals.

Enrollment Builders’ continued work with clients of all sizes has allowed us to distill the most essential components of building and maintaining a winning enrollment and retention program. As you look toward your goals for your next term, keep these five factors of enrollment and retention success top-of-mind.

5 Factors of Enrollment and Retention Success

1. Create a solid strategic enrollment management (SEM) plan. You need a master plan for strategic enrollment before anything else. This plan will guide your actions and decisions for the next two to five years. Having an SEM plan will help ensure all your enrollment efforts will be more likely to succeed in identifying your priorities, combatting uncertainty, and reaching your new student enrollment goals. 

We've written a step-by-step guide to help you create your SEM plan. Read the guide and download a free strategic enrollment management plan template to customize

2. An integrated marketing plan. The best marketing plans leverage multiple channels tactically to achieve stronger results. Consider how your institution’s media spend could be better targeted through online buys that inherently are more scalable, more measurable, and present a clearer ROI. Let the online channel determine your approach and consider how your message needs to change for SEO, social media campaigns, paid search, display advertising, email marketing, and other marketing channels.

3. A cohesive recruitment effort. It can’t be overstated: Recruitment is a team effort and successful recruitment plans engage nearly every department that potential students touch. From marketing to financial aid and from enrollment to student services; recruitment is an ongoing and multi-channel activity.

Likewise, smart recruitment plans include a strong and responsive CRM solution and a messaging approach that’s well-calibrated and consistent — using email, phone, and traditional mail to keep candidates engaged and well-informed. 

4. Clear and consistent enrollment operations. Improve your recruitment and enrollment operations by defining the language and identifying the target metrics at each stage in the process. Find out what’s working and what’s not by closely measuring benchmark numbers like conversion rate, schedule rate, and start rate. 

5. Predictive modeling. Predictive modeling or predictive analytics uses historical information to forecast outcomes. Applied in higher education, modeling can help build more efficient marketing campaigns by identifying prospective students, singling out the factors that influence enrollment behavior, and designing better messaging strategies. Predictive modeling can also protect your marketing and recruitment dollars by identifying early those students who are likely to drop out —allowing for swift and focused intervention efforts. 

No matter what your obstacle is, you can always rewrite your institution’s story. With competition high and attention from a broad range of constituents sharply focused on outcomes, it’s never been more important for institutions to understand and address their unique challenges head-on and with a collective effort. And delaying to act or choosing to do nothing about your enrollment challenges only makes your problems worse.

Get More Help with Enrollment Management 

What do you need help with most? Retaining students, growing online programs? Boosting your operational efficiency? 

We'd love to talk with you and hear more about your specific challenges. Schedule some time to speak with one of our enrollment experts