Wrapping Up and Ramping Up, Part 2: Q&A on Future Proofing Admissions

Higher ed admissions have entered the “wrapping up while ramping up” period in the college recruitment cycle. In Part 1 of this blog, we discussed the wrapping up — how enrollment teams can lock in their fall classes using anti-melt strategies. In Part 2, we asked Capture Higher Ed enrollment advisors about the ramp up to fall 2024 and beyond.

What should admission offices be doing right now to prepare for fall 2024?

Right now, there are so many things that should be on your mind as an admissions office. You should be reviewing your email series and making sure you’ve updated all the communications for the next year. You should be analyzing the search names you’ve purchased and making sure you have enough volume in your prospect pool to make it through the summer.

You also need to consider how many early inquiries you have and thinking about strategies for reaching out to them. Do you have open houses planned that you need to be marketing? Do you have underclass-specific events you need to be promoting? There’s a lot on your plate at this point in the year and it’s important to sit down, make a good plan of action and map it all out so nothing is forgotten.

What are proven strategies for engaging high school juniors and sophomores?

Showcase student engagement and outcomes.

It’s critical to think about what’s important to them at this point in their college search. They may not be far enough along for college visits to be important to them. But they’re definitely searching around on your website and trying to figure out if you’re a good fit for them. Make sure you have content on your site and content in your email that is relevant and meaningful to them at this point. It’s a good time to showcase student engagement and outcomes … because they want to know what it’s going to be like when they are there, but also what it’s going to be like after they graduate.

Is it too early to communicate with freshmen?

It’s never too early to communicate with any class, but you need to make sure the message you’re giving them is relevant to them at that point. Promoting campus visits to a freshman in high school is probably not as relevant as showcasing career options and highlighting careers that are in demand. Getting them to think along those lines instead.

What are some unique tactics Capture clients are applying to engage juniors and sophomores?
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Dynamic content should push for inquiry generation.

Everything Capture does is a little unique, but some of the things we’re doing with our sophomores and juniors to get them really engaged involve different kinds of dynamic content, pushing them to different parts of your website that feature stories about current students, programs, faculty, facilities and more. This can really showcase the unique benefits of a school.

Also, specific dynamic content pieces can push for inquiry generation and feature outcomes like career opportunities. All of these are different pieces that, while they appeal to seniors, they have a different appeal to juniors. So, you really need to focus in on that call to action. With sophomores and juniors, you’re looking for them to inquire. Maybe you’re opening up your applications soon and you want them to get into the application mode as well. You have to get in that mindset without forgetting about your seniors.

How can technology such as behavioral intelligence enable and elevate these strategies?

At this point in the year, your sophomore and junior pool are probably pretty big. You’ve got a lot of prospects; maybe a lot of inquiries, but further down the funnel, there’s not much action. You’ve got a large group of students that you’re really looking to home in on. Those are the students that your budget — your marketing dollars — can make the biggest impact with.

Capture Affinity Index (CAI) is Capture’s proprietary measurement of a prospective student’s engagement with a school.

When you’re using ENGAGE and Capture Affinity Index (CAI) scores and application modeling, you’re taking the money that’s in your marketing budget and focusing it in on those students that have the highest probability applying and enrolling.

Capture’s application modeling, APPLY, not only uses historic data and what we know about the prospective student, but also their actual demonstrated interest in your institution in a way no other model can.

That’s where behavioral engagement comes in with this portion of the class. It also helps you have that one-on-one connection with your students when your admissions counselors are focused on a different area. So, while your counselors are engaging seniors and pushing for the deposit and anti-melt strategies, you can use behavioral intelligence and dynamic content to showcase your school to those underclassmen, so that it’s out of the hands of your admissions staff.

Answers compiled from Capture’s Senior Enrollment Advisors.