High Anxiety: A Look at Inside Higher Ed’s 2018 Survey of Admissions Leaders

“Not only are a majority of colleges failing to fill their new classes by May 1,” writes Scott Jaschik in Inside Higher Ed, “but they are failing to do so by June 1, as well …” Thus begins the reiteration of the 2018 Survey of College and University Admissions Directors, a study conducted by Inside Higher Ed and Gallup involving 499 senior personnel in admissions and enrollment management.

The survey of admissions leaders touches on a number of controversial subjects: the abandonment of SAT and ACT tests requirements; lengthening waiting lists; the lack of confidence in social media strategies. But filling the class — meeting the admissions goals — is addressed from the outset.

With May 1 finding many colleges falling short of their goal, the dates have been pushed back to June 1 — or even July. Of private undergraduate colleges, only 43 percent met their goal by May 1. For public undergraduate colleges, that number sinks to 27 percent. How many met by June 1? Private, only 7 percent; public, only ten.

The next number relates to the concern of admissions personnel — “High Anxiety,” the chart is titled — and numbers there seem to support that title. The number of “very concerned” in the private colleges is 53 percent, and “moderately concerned” is 35 percent. For the public colleges, those numbers are 62 and 27 percent, respectively.

The article addresses the problems, too, of recruiting international students, the higher standards imposed on Asian-American students, and the backlash over legacy students, all very interesting reading. But tucked away at the very end of the article is what we at Capture Higher Ed find particularly important: “Recruiting strategies.” How do personnel feel about their CRM? Their marketing strategy? Their social media strategy?

Inside Higher Ed found that, overall, “A majority of colleges are satisfied with their CRM systems (though plenty are not).” Those numbers, depending on the level of centralization of admissions operations, ranges from 65 percent to 73 percent. The number drops in satisfaction with marketing strategy, ranging from 61 percent to 66 percent. The drop is even further with social media strategy, satisfaction ranging from 47 percent to, at best, 63 percent.

It’s these numbers that Capture seeks to address. The percent of personnel, at least those who took this survey, who are satisfied with their CRM still ranges from a grade of “D” to, at most, “C.” That’s not stellar. Marketing strategy is a resounding “D,” and social media strategy is almost uniformly an “F.”

So what can be done about it? That’s the task of Capture because we fuel CRMs to be more effective and integrate strategies — from social to CRM follow-up — to work in tandem toward enrollment goals.

We’ve created Capture Behavioral Engagement (CBE), which can take some of the anxiety out of those impending deadlines by turning your attention to the students who are clearly interested — but may not be visible. We have long worked to perfect our marketing strategy so that admissions personnel can turn their attention to what matters most: enrolling students. Same with social media; we’ve been creating beautiful and effective ads for Facebook and Instagram for quite some time!

So read the results in Inside Higher Ed. Then contact us. We can help.

By Sean Hill, Senior Content Writer, Capture Higher Ed