During the current 2020-21 recruitment cycle, students have been unable to travel like in years past for campus visits due to limitations necessitated by the pandemic. That should mean their college search has centered closer to home … right? While that logic makes sense, it isn’t holding up so far for the incoming class of 2021. In fact, currently, admitted students are coming from farther away on average than last year.
Across Capture Higher Ed’s client base of colleges and universities, here is the distribution of admits by distance for last year and this year prior to March 1 — about the time the world changed last year. The vertical line represents the mean admitted student.
The average admitted student is actually coming from about 8 miles farther than last year. The total number of admits for Capture schools is also up. Our median partner is up 3.9% in admits this year. While the total number of admits is up, the total number of admits within 50 miles is down.
This effect holds across most of Capture’s client schools — 76% of schools with an enrollment model (those for whom we have the best data) have a greater average distance from campus than last year.
It’s also not confined to admitted students. Throughout the funnel, students are coming from farther away than last year. The difference is most pronounced in search names as schools had to reach into new geographies to amass their search pool from fewer available students.
While expanding our partner institutions’ geographic reach is valuable — especially for schools in areas of declining high school graduates — now is the time for them to turn their attention toward their core market. That’s why Capture experts are working with them to convert those students close to home into applicants and admits.
By John Foster, Data Scientist, Capture Higher Ed