Archive for January, 2016

Yield Nightmare 1 – Your Prospective Students Are Committed To Another College

January 12th, 2016

When does yield season really begin? Sooner than you may think. Much sooner.

In a recent study of nearly 12,000 prospective students across the country, we asked, “When did you make your emotional commitment to the college of your choice?”

As you can see on the graph below, nearly one-third of students make their final college selection decision before the end of March, and by the end of April that percentage rises to 57%. By May, 80% of students have made their final choice.Decision_Month_459x223

No doubt about it, students are making their college decisions NOW. And that puts more pressure on your admission team to cement the relationships you’re building with prospective students.

Recently an admission counselor confided to me that she has regular nightmares that the students she is recruiting have already made an “emotional commitment” to another school but haven’t shared that fact with her. “There have been students that I was sure were going to enroll with us that surprised me. When that happens, I feel like I have failed the student and the university,” she said. “This is the fear that keeps me up at night. What can I do?”nightmare

I told her exactly what I will tell you: There are actions that you can take today that will improve yield, and may even help you get a good night’s sleep.

Understand the student’s motivation.

You might be surprised to find that our research uncovered that nearly 40% of students make their ultimate choice based more on their excitement about the college than facts about the school.

What’s more, only 30% of prospective students consider cost the overriding factor in their college selection decision. So it’s likely that 70% of your pool will not be exclusively waiting to hear about your financial aid package before deciding which school is right for them. They may play the “other school is offering us more money” game to try to get more from you but, believe me, if you’ve gotten them excited they’ll ultimately come to you.

Demonstrate a genuine interest in the individual student.

We asked college-bound students if the colleges they were considering had taken a personal interest in them at any point in the recruiting process. The response was shocking. Two-thirds said “No” or “Don’t Remember” and in our view “Don’t remember” is the same as “No!”Personal_Interest_460x287

You may have heard the saying that “someone may forget what you said and forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” Showing a personal interest in each student makes them feel good about the college and it has a strong positive correlation to yield.

Smaller colleges may have an advantage in that they can more easily establish a one-to-one connection with a prospective student but that doesn’t mean that large colleges that recruit thousands of students cannot also give prospective students the sense that the institution cares about them as an individual. This is typically done by providing great customer service so that students can easily get what they need, when they need it, from people who seem delighted to provide it to them. This commitment and practice has a measurable impact on yield.

Be sure to ask this one KEY question.

We have found that the most successful admission counselors build relationships with their students and gain valuable personal insight about each and every one of them. They know whether or not cost is the most critical factor and what attributes of their college will excite the student.

With that knowledge in hand, they nurture a relationship with the student that best serves the needs of the individual. They stay in touch, ask questions and have meaningful conversations throughout the entire admissions process. And, they don’t get unpleasantly surprised when the student tells them he or she has opted for another college.

But, what if one of your prospective students has formed an emotional connection to another college long before you have firmed up any details with them? How can you know that? What can you do?

At various points throughout the recruiting cycle, most colleges will ask the question, “Are you still interested in us?” The real question colleges should ask is, “At this point, has any college captured your emotional commitment?”

If the answer is “yes,” don’t be discouraged. You have just been given a golden opportunity. Use your probing and supporting skills to present your college’s value proposition in a truly meaningful way. You are very likely to change some minds.

Continue the conversation on Twitter @LongmireCo.  For more information about Longmire and Company’s Yield Enhancement tool click here. [Subscribe to Versions of Conversion today so you don’t miss any of this highly-valuable information.]

RickMontgomery_100x100Rick Montgomery is as an Enrollment Strategist at Longmire and Company. With over 20 years in higher education marketing, he brings an innovative and dynamic approach to helping colleges and universities meet their enrollment goals. Rick can be reached at 913/492.1265 x.708 or via email at

What is Your College’s Lasting Impression?

January 6th, 2016

[Part 4 of our blog series on how exceptional pre- and post-enrollment customer service can increase yield at your college or university.]

The holidays are behind us (I hope yours were full of family, friends and fun) and now we are all gearing up for the year ahead. In the world of enrollment management that means yielding the best possible incoming class of 2016.

Customer service sealIn recent weeks, we have been sharing insights with you about how providing exceptional pre-enrollment customer service can impact your ability to achieve your enrollment goals. When you get it right, it will differentiate your school from all others. But, if you have breakdowns in your pre-enrollment service, it can be the single element that derails you.

Consider this: In our national co-sponsored study, How Customer Service Delivery During the Recruiting Cycle Influences Enrollment, we found that 53% of students and parents say that the service they receive from a college during the “shopping process” influences their selection decision.

Prospective students and parents view the pre-enrollment service they receive as predictive of how the student will be served after enrollment.

The research is very clear but it was a chance encounter with an old friend over the holidays that crystallized the message for me.

My friend Dave is assisting his oldest daughter, Emily, in her college search. Dave is a savvy consumer and he is also well aware that Emily has the GPA, college test scores, and extracurricular activities that colleges find attractive in a prospective student. As a matter of fact, he shared with me that she has been on the radar screen for a number of schools for several months. “She gets daily emails, letters and phone calls from all of them,” he said. “I figured we would take a hard look at two or three and it would be an easy decision. Instead, she is more confused now than ever. The whole experience was a huge disappointment.”

Here is Dave’s take on the college shopping experience:

  • At College A:  Emily and her dad were given the standard tour which did not include any of the areas of specific interest to Emily. “She is a likely music major but that wasn’t part of the tour. When she asked about the music program, which we know is considered to be among the finest, the guide provided a spiel right out of the handbook.” And this was after numerous phone conversations with the admissions counselor.
  • At College B:  The tour was far more personalized. “Someone had done their homework because she was shown the music department and told about specific opportunities available to her.” Dave said that Emily got excited about the campus and he had a feeling they had found The One. That is, until they had a one-on-one with the admissions counselor. “What a turn-off,” Dave groaned. “He recited an encyclopedia of stuff about the school but didn’t relate any of it to Emily. I don’t think he asked her even one question about her interests or what she wanted from the college experience.”
  • On to College C:  “The admissions staff was enthusiastic and helpful. The counselor truly seemed to care about my daughter,” Dave said. But it all fell apart when they left their office. “The campus atmosphere wasn’t friendly and the grounds were unkempt. We got turned around and couldn’t find anyone to help. ” When they finally found their way back to the car, Emily told her dad, “No way!”

Unfortunately, Emily’s experience is not unique. It does, however, offer a cautionary tale for all colleges and university enrollment teams.

Here is the Good News:  You CAN be the college or university that stands out with exceptional pre-enrollment service.  Review this multi-part series for the necessary processes and steps. Taking control of your pre-enrollment service delivery will allow you to better serve prospective students and increase your yield.  Make it your New Year’s resolution!

The Business Principle You Can Adopt Today for Increased Yield

Take this First Step Toward Increasing Yield TODAY

Don’t Let These 3 Pitfalls Derail Your Enrollment Success

Worth watching. About a year ago Chris D’Orso interviewed Longmire and Company on Higher Ed Live about customer service in higher ed.

If you have any questions, please give me a call. Longmire and Company offers Service Quality Management (SQM) surveys to help you achieve these goals. And we conduct workshops on campus to help colleges chart their course in providing better service to prospective and current students. Contact me today and I will show you how we can help you measure and manage your pre-enrollment service. Continue the conversation on Twitter @LongmireCo.

RickMontgomery_100x100Rick Montgomery is as an Enrollment Strategist at Longmire and Company. With over 20 years in higher education marketing, he brings an innovative and dynamic approach to helping colleges and universities meet their enrollment goals. Rick can be reached at 913/492.1265 x.708 or via email at