How to convert more Applicants into enrolled Students

    7 effective yield management strategies to optimise enrollment outcomes

    Maximize higher education enrollment success with proven tactics and student engagement approaches
    Last updated:
    July 10, 2024

    Yield management is utilized across a range of sectors. It can prove particularly useful in sectors that have time-sensitive buying life cycles, and those experiencing fluctuating demand. If you specialise in higher education admissions, this will resonate.  

    In the context of higher education, yield management can help admissions leaders to maximize revenue and meet enrollment targets. But it can also help establish and maintain a student body that is diverse and engaged, while reducing student churn.

    Let’s take a look at some of the top strategies for yield management at the application to enrollment stage of the student lifecycle

    1. Keep admitted students engaged

    Making sure that admitted students go on to enrol is a crucial part of the admissions process. Depending on the size of your institution, you may experience some drop offs before enrollment.

    There are many reasons as to why a student might not enrol after getting an offer, some of which are out of your hands. For instance,personal or professional reasons might prevent some prospective students from being able to enrol.

    However, there are yield management strategies you can employ to reduce the percentage of students who don’t enrol after receiving an offer.

    Engaging with admitted students, offering support and providing clear information can help students make informed decisions, and move forward with more confidence.

    Your goal should be to develop a comprehensive engagement strategy that elicits excitement and connection. Personalized communication is crucial.

    You’ll need to develop communication workflows that provide applicants with the information they need, as well as ample opportunities to build trust. You want them to feel like they have made the best decision for their needs.

    This is where you can really start to leverage the customizable workflows offered by your admissions and enrollment platform. Create a sequence of emails and SMS messages for admitted students that trigger a weekly email focused on a specific topic. Remember: your workflow should be call-to-action (CTA) led.

    Here’s an example of what your workflow could look like:

    2. Share unique content

    At a time when the amount of content available can feel overwhelming, your applicants will appreciate authenticity, clarity and specificity.

    You can engage admitted students by creating a welcome video from the admissions department, program directors or a current student, for instance.

    A good quality welcome video can make a positive first impression by helping successful applicants to feel welcome at your institution.

    Here are some elements that can make a university welcome video effective:

    • Brevity: Your video shouldn’t be longer than five minutes; shorter videos are easier to understand and are more ‘shareable’ on social media.
    • Authenticity: To build trust, ensure your video communicates your university’s core values; it should also feature real employees and students.
    • Clarity: Before commissioning your video, think about what it needs to communicate in terms of facilities, program features and opportunities.  
    • Visuals: As well as storytelling techniques, produce high quality visual content (this can be achieved even if you’re using a smartphone).
    • Brand consistency: To reinforce your brand, use the university's colours, logos, typeface and other branding elements.

    3. Showcase your unique value proposition

    Again, communicating what makes your institution unique – what it can do for students that others can’t – will help you stand out from the crowd and boost enrollments.

    When communicating with admitted students, you’ll want to bring certain elements to the fore, including your university’s academic reputation, campus life, career opportunities and support services. Creating content that highlights relevant collaborations, partnerships, affiliations, awards and rankings can help you boost your institution's reputation.

    Social media can play a significant role when it comes to showcasing your value proposition. Most of us rely on social media when researching where to study, and maintaining a presence on social media channels can help you drive admissions.

    Like yield management, take a strategic approach to social media. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can showcase your proposition to students who are yet to enrol:

    • Highlight strengths: Share content that reveals your university’s programs, expertise, facilities, innovations and achievements.
    • Host Q&As: Live Q&A sessions with current students, admissions staff or faculty provide students with a chance to interact with the university prior to enrolling.
    • Interactive content: Quizzes, polls and other types of interactive content allow students to explore their aspirations and interests in a highly engaging and shareable way.
    • Information sessions: Use social media to promote (or even host) practical information sessions for admitted students, on topics such as accommodation.

    Related: How Universities Use Social Media for Marketing

    4. Create admitted portal content

    A good quality admissions portal is crucial for enabling you and your team to manage student applications, and for facilitating an excellent applicant experience.

    Your admissions portal should provide clear instructions and information pertaining to every stage of the admissions process. The content included in your portal should cover the typical concerns and questions admitted candidates have at this point in the funnel, such as financial aid, visa,  accommodation, life on campus, mental health, career support, etc.

    Some admissions portals even allow you to translate content into different languages to improve the admissions experience for international candidates and students.

    It’s important to keep candidates informed of the status of their applications and what is expected from them in order to secure their offer.

    It also helps if your admissions portal is able to offer integrated chat features so that admitted students can contact admissions staff directly if they require assistance or have any questions.

    5. Offer an early deposit incentive

    Another way to optimize enrollment outcomes and improve yield rates is to explore early deposit incentives. This is a tactic universities employ to encourage admitted applicants to secure their place. Early enrollments can also help your faculty manage class sizes and plan their resources more effectively.

    You could consider cutting specific fees, such as orientation or future application fees, for students who submit an early deposit. You could also enable early depositors to register for a space in their elected classes on their program, especially if they have limited capacity or are oversubscribed.

    Other options include discounted tuition rates, part-scholarships, or extra financial aid.

    6. Run personalized events

    Why not organise specific events for admitted students, such as a webinar for admitted students or a welcome cocktail for international admitted students?

    When planning events for the period between acceptance and enrollment, you should focus on creating an experience that is both positive and memorable – one that reassures candidates that they have made a great choice.

    As well as communicating important information, these events should conjure a sense of community and provide ample opportunities for students to meet and network with other stakeholders.

    Consider getting more granular with events by offering specific workshops on aspects of university, such as financial aid and budgeting. This can help prospective students feel more prepared and able to afford university life.

    Where possible, arrange for admitted students to meet staff and students from their program; the people who are best places to share their insights and experiences. You could even provide admitted students with the chance to attend a one-off class or lecture in order to get a flavour for their course prior to enrollment.

    7. Leverage alumni and student ambassadors

    Your current student ambassadors and alumni are among your most powerful yield management resources. You can leverage them by offering admitted students a point of contact; a ‘buddy’ who has been through the experience.

    It’s important to work with the marketing team to showcase student and alumni success stories. These can demonstrate academic and career opportunities. You could create them as testimonials, panel discussions, interviews or “day in the life” videos. Allowing admitted students to hear from their peers can prove invaluable from an enrollment perspective.

    Yield management beyond enrollment

    Of course, yield management goes beyond student enrollment.

    While the point between admission and enrollment is a great stage to priroitize, you should also focus on the rest of the student lifecycle to ensure that your retention rates remain high. After all, high retention rates not only ensure individuals get a high quality education, but contribute to the long-term financial and reputational success of your university.

    It’s important to have robust career and skills building services in place, such as internship opportunities with reputable industry partners. Having the option to align studies with career progression can really boost motivation and instil a sense of purpose.

    Ultimately, you should be utilizing data analytics at every stage of the journey to identify patterns and trends relating to yield and retention. A data-driven approach can help you to make informed decisions and deploy your resources effectively.


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