For forever and two days, enrollment yield – the main metric of success for enrollment professionals – has been a vital measurement in higher ed. And as time marches on, it’s only getting more critical. For students, applying to colleges keeps getting easier – thanks to online applications like the Common App and others. But, for campuses, this makes the process much more complicated.
The influx of applications has created a new challenge. More time and resources must be devoted to filtering applications. Meanwhile, success continues to be measured primarily by the number of students who ultimately choose to enroll.
Suzanne Petrusch is all too familiar with this challenge and what comes with it. As Vice President of Enrollment and Marketing for Presbyterian College (PC), Suzanne teamed up with Mongoose to text with prospective students and analyze how texting behavior(s) and yield are related.
Here’s what we’ve learned so far.
- The more interested the student, the more likely they are to hand over their number. Sound simple? Indeed. But it also gives campuses an instant read on who’s serious and who’s not. For PC and many of our other client institutions, the data confirms it: 74% of applicants opted in for texting (not bad overall, eh?); 81% of accepted students opted in; and finally, a whopping 92% of confirms opted in.
- Opting in correlates with interest, but engagement is by far the most predictive behavior. When we looked at the number of texts being sent from students to admissions counselors 80% of confirms had two-way text conversations with the institution and over 40% of confirms had sent five or more texts. This indicates that the most predictive behavior of highly interested students was a willingness to engage in two-way text conversations.
Over 40% of confirms had sent five or more texts.
- Get deep in the data to find serious students. Once we realized the significance of the engagement factor, Suzanne and her team did something super simple (and super smart). They filtered their unconfirmed students who already exhibited a high level of engagement via text. That way, they could focus their energy and efforts on those students — as individuals — with highly personalized communication.
- Keep an eye on the “Never Texted” list. We then looked at students who had opted in for texting but did not yet receive a text message from PC. This turned out to be true for about 6% of students who had opted in. Suzanne and team used that data to effectively poke holes in the existing communications plan – then ensuring that these students would not be ignored. Suzanne explained, “We want to look at who those students are and how, why, and where we missed them along the way, so we can refine our communications plan moving forward.”
As I’m sure you’re all well aware, we’re in the month of April, which means we’re a ways away from tallying the final numbers for Presbyterian College – including their final yield. Rest assured, when we do, we’ll report back. For now, we’re 100% confident on one thing: A student’s willingness to spend their valuable, free time texting with an admissions counselor means they’re worth their weight in gold when it comes to enrollment yield.
Want to hear more? Check out our recent broadcast where Presbyterian College’s Suzanne Petrusch and Mongoose’s Dave Marshall discuss the impact of texting on yield with host Adam Castro.