Updated 10/23/2023 Nearly all of us use a search engine as a regular part of our daily lives, but...
Prospective Higher Ed Student Inquiry Forms—Are You Doing It Wrong?
It may not seem obvious, but the request for information (RFI) forms on your college or university’s website can make or break your new student enrollment goals.
Each of your RFI forms is one of the first interactions a prospective student has with your institution. They should:
- Be easy to locate and clearly marked
- Be quick and easy to navigate and submit
- Collect only pertinent information
- Have correct information and be functional
The information gathered from RFIs on your site is crucial to converting website visitors into active inquiries. If the RFI isn’t functioning properly, your outreach is affected, and new students are lost.
Successful Qualifications Begin with the Right RFI Form
In order to have the best qualification process possible, you need to create an RFI form that captures the necessary information. Once the student completes the form, the follow-up thank-you pop-up message and/or email should direct them to their admissions representative.
Every RFI form should include these required fields:
- First Name
- Last Name
- Mobile number
- Check box to opt-in or opt-out for ongoing admissions communication
- Timezone, zip code, or state
- Program of interest
- Desired start date
Once the RFI form is submitted, the student should receive a message on the screen that lets them know their inquiry has been received, and it should set expectations about what comes next. If they have urgent questions, this page should provide them with a specific phone number and email address where they can reach their designated representative in the admissions office.
Why Collecting This Information Is Important
Getting a student’s name, email address, and phone number may seem like a given, but you’d be surprised at how many colleges and universities don’t include at least one of these fields on their RFI form. Don’t omit any of these fields! Having an RFI form like the one we outline here is simply a higher ed enrollment management best practice.
It’s imperative that you include some type of opt-in (or opt-out) box for receiving text messages. Text messaging is a critical tool for recruiting success, and your institution should be texting prospective students regularly. But you must have permission to do so. Secure this permission on your RFI form.
By giving their state or zip code, students will help you determine what time zone they are in. Knowing their geographic locale will help your team with staffing in addition to the time zone where your institution is.
Knowing a student’s program of interest helps your team assign counselors to prospective students (assuming your office makes assignments this way). That information also provides a natural talking point for the admissions counselor and student, which aids in building rapport.
Take a Critical Look at the RFI on Your Institution’s Website
It will only take a few minutes, but it can produce thousands of dollars in new revenue for your college or university: check your institution’s RFI and put it through the test.
Pretend you’re a prospective student and are considering enrolling at your school.
☑️ Is the RFI form easy to find and easy to fill out?
☑️ Do all the buttons and dropdowns work?
☑️ Does the form ask for all pertinent information, especially a mobile phone number? Is there a box to opt-in to text messaging?
☑️ Is the follow-up messaging (pop-ups, emails, texts) quick? Does it include contact information for a designated admissions representative?
If you can’t answer “yes” to all of those questions, then you’re likely turning away potential students and losing money.
If your RFI form needs re-working and updating, prioritize that task with your school’s website team as soon as possible. You’ll help create a stronger experience for your prospective students, which will inevitably lead to higher new student enrollment numbers.
Experiencing enrollment challenges? Schedule a time to meet with me to discuss how Enrollment Builders can help your team.