How to convert more Applicants into enrolled Students

    The Quickstart Guide to Modernizing Your Higher Ed SaaS Platform

    A modern SaaS platform helps higher ed institutions better manage the student lifecycle through admissions and enrollment processes.
    Last updated:
    December 3, 2021

    Admissions departments at colleges and universities have been facing technology challenges for years, before the COVID-19 pandemic changed the higher education landscape. The stakes are even higher now, as fewer U.S. undergraduates are enrolling in school and the world is still dealing with the pandemic.

    In these uncertain times, schools can’t afford to lose out on students simply because they aren’t communicating well with applicants or are struggling with internal processes. Opportunity still exists—the same report found that grad school enrollment jumped 4.6 percent. Modernizing your admissions and enrollment platform to an all-in-one software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution can help you realize these opportunities. Here’s how.

    Challenges to Modernization

    Higher education institutions aren't necessarily resistant to change, but sometimes, they aren’t set up to efficiently do so. What may seem like obvious upgrades could cause more problems than they were intended to solve. Some of the challenges to modernization include:

    Incomplete Data

    Poor data leads to poorly informed strategy. Consider college fairs—if prospective students are less likely to attend on a certain day or a certain time, you need to know that and plan your event schedule accordingly.

    Process Inefficiency

    Manual processes remain at many schools, slowing down tasks as well as interactions with prospective students. Without lead nurturing workflows, for example, your team might be stuck sending out emails one by one rather than having technology perform the same task in a fraction of the time.

    Student Expectations

    Generation Z brings certain expectations to the application and enrollment experience that schools must match to resonate with and impress them. This goes beyond snail mail: If digital interactions aren’t working well, today’s young applicants may question whether you really understand them.

    Generic Software

    Many admissions departments struggle to track applicants through the pipeline. Multiple platforms often cause this, but even a CRM that’s not higher ed-focused can lose students at the moments they should be getting the most attention from the admissions team.

    Platform Integration

    The patchwork of platforms and solutions used across various departments don’t always play nice with each other. For example, if marketing’s email program doesn’t easily integrate with admissions’ constituent relationship management (CRM) platform, information about potential students might not be shared, and opportunities to enroll those prospects might be lost.

    Consolidate into a Single SaaS Admissions and Enrollment Platform

    Disparate systems and clunky integrations can slow down admissions departments and decrease the time spent in their most important role: interacting with and supporting potential students. Modernizing your platform allows you to collect all the moving parts of your admissions and enrollment processes into one convenient SaaS solution.

    The advantages of this include:

    • Pipeline visibility: In a single system, you can access and track prospects’ data and interactions at any point of their journey, from their first communication with your team to application to enrollment—and beyond.
    • A better applicant experience: A modern SaaS platform isn’t just for your staff—students and prospective students benefit from an intuitive interface, mobile-friendly forms, and personalized communication.
    • Improved communication: Advanced email functionality and lead-nurturing workflows ensure that you’re always interacting with applicants and sending the right messages to the right prospects at the right time.
    • Time savings: With everything you need in one place, admissions employees aren’t wasting time shuffling from platform to platform and inputting data from one solution that didn’t automatically transfer to another.
    • Advanced reports: Comprehensive and customizable data provides valuable insight into your efforts and lets you know what’s working, what’s not working, and what applicants are thinking.

    Tips for Modernizing

    Upgrading to a SaaS admissions and enrollment platform isn’t as difficult as it might seem. These tips will get you started:

    Understand Your Admissions Journey

    Defining your lead-to-enrollment process might be the most critical piece of a digital admissions transformation. Establish student lifecycle stages to track progress across the entire admissions and enrollment process.

    Choose the Right Tools

    Once you better understand your lead-to-enrollment process, identify areas for improvement at each stage of the student journey. From there, add helpful tools—anything from online forms to automated workflows to student-friendly user portal—to support your strategy and improve admissions engagement.

    Measure Key Metrics

    Capturing key call metrics provides insights into process improvements while creating opportunities to increase enrollments even further. Look at the conversion rates at every stage of the student journey, such as lead to started applicant, started to submitted applicant, and admitted to enrolled student.

    Prioritize Data Management and Governance

    A central point of truth is essential for finding alignment and tracking progress with your admissions and enrollment efforts. Focus on setting up a firm data foundation to build your strategy on. Creating and maintaining a single source of accurate, meaningful data leads to higher-quality enrollments and informed decision-making.

    Modernize with an Experienced Provider

    A general CRM provider may offer an adequate system for most businesses, but it likely lacks the focus on higher ed that you need to effectively manage prospects through admissions and enrollment processes. Choose a provider that focuses exclusively on colleges and universities and brings years of experience to solving the unique problems you face.

    Full Fabric brings that experience to every SaaS solution we offer and every innovation we make. Our best-in-class software is built with the needs of admissions and enrollment teams—and the students they interact with—in mind. Book a demo to learn more.


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    Tania Roquette

    I am the Head of Solutions at FULL FABRIC. I am passionate about education and technology.

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