When it comes to prospective students' admissions success, being able to track the candidate’s application journey is a crucial part of the process. In this blog post, we explore how a good admissions solution for higher education can help advance students through the application process and convert prospects into enrolled students.
Higher education is becoming an increasingly competitive sphere - once students competed for spaces; now universities compete for students. Take the UK, for example. In 2012, university tuition fees tripled and in 2014 the cap on student numbers - which had controlled government spending by restricting how many places institutions could offer - was lifted.
As such, institutions are doing what they can to increase their lead to enrollment ratios, which is why university marketing, is now a year-round exercise. Before, university marketing efforts was a seasonal affair that took place in the three months leading up to the application deadline.
Capturing candidates’ attention through engaging content and marketing is one thing, but it’s just as important to be able to track how individuals respond to and engage with content in order to increase the chances of them submitting an application.
There are numerous benefits to being able to track and visualise the stage at which a prospective student is at in the application process, but it’s incredibly difficult to do so without the right software. We’ve found that several higher education institutions still rely on traditional (offline) admissions methods, that offer no visibility, or disparate digital systems that have no tracking capabilities, thus making the process lengthy and cumbersome.
Track everything in one place with integrated admissions software.
An increase in applications
The Saïd Foundation is a great example of how tracking student applications can have a significant impact on ROI. The higher education institution decided to digitise and automate the entire application process after dealing with a paper application system for years. Their admissions software now enables them to capture data and track a student’s application journey, and it has accelerated the process significantly.
Shortly after adopting their new admissions software, The Saïd Foundation witnessed a huge increase in the number of applications they received as well as a significant drop in the time it took them to process those applications.
These results show that educational institutions who use admissions software are at a major advantage compared with those who rely on other systems. Quick access to applicants’ records on one database, efficient systems for filtering candidates and the ability to track engagement all help to improve the application process for both student and staff. The extra costs of manually processing applications and employing additional people during the admissions season are slashed with the implementation of admissions software.
An all-in-one admissions software system will enable you to interact with students and view those interactions in one centralised place. It is important that the admissions system you choose incorporates an application portal that captures the applicant information into the CRM, before they begin the application form itself (as opposed to after they submit).
By knowing who is interested in your courses, you can tailor the way in which you communicate with them and address any concerns the potential applicant may have through relevant, targeted content. Ultimately, having a 360° overview of the student application journey enables the university to cater to people’s individual needs and requirements.
How exactly does admissions software track candidates?
Multifaceted in nature, this technology builds a complete profile of the candidates, providing information on everything from the time they spend on your landing pages to an individual's most recent activity. In short, it provides you with an overview or detailed account of how a candidate or cohort is engaging with the process.
Benefit #1: Track communication history
Students spend a lot of time researching universities these days, which is why it’s so important for institutions to ensure their content is not only searchable, but designed in a way that encourages the candidate to submit their information. Once this data has been captured and stored on the system, the journey begins. The admissions software enables you to see a complete picture of their activity, including activity history and the last touch point.
"Admissions software gives you a bird’s eye view of how applications are progressing, and you can ‘drill down’ and track individual’s journey too."
Benefit #2: Segment your database
An efficient admissions software system will allow you to define your audience, making it easy to organise campaigns and differentiate content, catering for different applicant stages.
The ability to segment means you can really tailor messages based on data such as the candidate’s interests, location or simply where they are at in the funnel. This way, universities can begin to build trust and even cultivate a relationship with the applicant, and increase the likelihood of them enrolling.
Benefit #3: Measure engagement
Inbuilt analytics means you can track how your prospective students engage with all of your content, including landing pages, events and email campaigns. You’ll be able to see everything from click-through rates and bounce rates to the number of opens and replies. This information can be used to both improve strategy moving forward and help re-engage candidates, by nurturing them through the application channel.
Benefit #4: Connect your team
The inability to collaborate on projects can be the most frustrating thing for universities who don’t have access to integrated admissions software. Sharing information via email can be very time-consuming and information can be lost in the chain.
With admissions software, you can capture all your team’s interactions with a candidate in one place, making it really easy to share information, store everyone’s notes, assign tasks and perform collaborative work.
Are you looking to improve you university’s lead to application rate? FULL FABRIC can demonstrate how investing in admissions software can radically improve your student recruitment strategy - feel free to get in touch today.
For the latest news and trends in higher ed, follow us on Twitter @fullfabric.