Archive for August, 2014

College selection can happen in the blink of an eye.

August 6th, 2014

Eye_For_CollegeFrom my days as a college admissions director I remember in particular one conversation with a parent attending an on-campus event. She told me, “This is it. Our son has made his decision. We have drunk your school’s Kool-Aid.”

I remember asking this parent to tell me exactly how her son knew that our college was now “his college.” In this particular student’s case, his realization or “aha moment” occurred very suddenly and forcefully while spending time on campus with a group of students who shared his love of automotive engineering and interest in motor sports.

Long before the May 1 decision date arrived, he had already identified himself as a member of this group and therefore as a future student at our institution.

Longmire and Company’s Your Value Proposition study, conducted in 2013 and co-sponsored with nearly 40 colleges and universities, uncovered just how much a student’s excitement about a college causes them to enroll there. It’s no revelation that college selection is an emotional decision, but the Longmire study showed that a student’s level of excitement about a school correlated to likelihood of enrollment by a margin of two-to-one over cost and a school’s perceived quality.

Students are applying to more colleges than ever before, and admitted-to-enrolled yield rates nationally have been on the decline. Students clearly have choices. Of course they are going to carefully consider costs and quality attributes. But they still are going to become very excited about one particular college.

Do you know precisely how and when your prospective students locked in on their college selection decision? Do you know how to create the environments where that will happen with predictability?

Your admissions officers work hard to spread the word about your institution during college fairs and at high schools. They lay out the facts and features. Your office most certainly conducts great Saturday campus open-houses at which enthused, friendly and eager staffers speak positively about the great things your school can do for students. You are constantly busy with direct marketing and electronic recruitment strategies.

All of this activity is good and necessary, but how do you know which, or if any of these activities are truly generating that moment of excitement, that emotional bond that makes students want to show up on campus day one?  Or, is the bond occurring due to something outside of your sphere of influence?

This summer at Longmire and Company we have set out to help enrollment officers find these answers. Our newest study The Excitement Factor! will help institutions better understand what is driving their own prospective students to that level of excitement that makes them want to enroll. We will gather data and information straight from the students — finding out how and when students become truly excited and committed to their college of choice, isolating the points at which students move beyond facts and attributes and feel the grip of an emotional bond.

The comprehensive data report that Longmire will produce for each participating institution will highlight patterns and habits of their student pools — thus allowing colleges to evaluate which of their recruitment methods cause excitement and enrollments, and which do not!

We are signing up institutions to participate this summer.  The cost is low, and all you have to do is provide us with the students from your 2014 (most recent) recruitment pool.  We do the rest and will present you with your data.

You can download detailed information about being a study co-sponsor and obtaining data on your pool of students by clicking here.

Karen_Full_100x100Karen Full is a successful higher education professional who has held positions in enrollment management at large and small, public and private institutions including Kettering University, University of Tampa, Marian University, and other institutions. She is now an Enrollment Strategist at Longmire and Company.