Increase Enrollment with these 3 Data Components

Increase Enrollment with these 3 Data Components

Why Measuring, Managing, and Testing Your Data will Increase Enrollment Numbers

If you want to grow your adult learner enrollment numbers, you’ll need to develop a deeper understanding of your data. For some, it will mean implementing new processes, while for others, it will mean streamlining current operations. Wherever you are in your data and enrollment improvement journey, know that there are three components to address if you want better outcomes.

Step 1: Measure your data

Make sure you have valid data at each stage of the funnel even if the records aren’t connected.

In my experience, many people jump right into systems and forget the bigger picture, but that is a mistake. Thinking of your own school, what data sources have you potentially forgotten about?

For example, one school we worked with realized their receptionist was responding to prospective student questions every day in-person, but those contacts and interactions weren’t recorded anywhere. At another school, temporary student resources served heavy foot traffic. Since the temporary help didn’t have access to the CRM, they couldn’t transpose the data from the physical pieces of paper and enter it in the system. In both cases, these were incredibly high-quality leads, physically visiting a campus, who weren’t included in a marketing database.

To start, I recommend going through a discovery process – talk with all team members who interact with prospective students, including faculty who may participate in recruiting events for a program. This will help you walk through the prospective student’s process and identify all critical interaction points.

Additionally, make sure you are capturing data throughout the entire student lifecycle. A school’s ability to track and capture the information related to each stage equips them with the ability to be more timely, targeted, and successful in their efforts. It’s all about using that data to educate your future actions.

This is much easier to do if your technology systems and web analytics are integrated, e.g., Google Analytics, web forms, Marketing Automation system, and Student Information Systems (SIS). You can learn more about this in a webinar about using technology to support a successful student lifecycle.

Once your data is connected, and you are capturing full-funnel enrollment data, there are three components that should be measured:

  1. Revenue/enrollment
  2. Cost of acquisition
  3. Speed of conversion.

Learn more about how these performance metrics can help you increase enrollments in this article.

Step 2: Manage your data

Gather your baseline data and identify trends, then develop hypotheses on why trends are happening.

Marketing is a good mix of creative thinking and the scientific process. This is the time to blend them both and develop ideas for why you have spikes and dips outside the data bell curve.

Here are two case study examples from a recent webinar of what our clients discovered during this part of the process:

Example 1: A highly competitive public school

This school was grappling with enrollment declines in one of their graduate programs, despite increased inquiries and applications.

Problem identified: Applications were up but enrollments were down

Example 2: An elite Ivy League school

This school has one of the largest summer programs in the country and was faced with lower YOY traffic and lead activity. In an increasingly fragmented summer program market, there were forecasting concerns for student housing space.

Problem identified: Lack of lead nurturing

Step 3: Test your data

Test alternative approaches to change negative trends and accentuate positive trends.

Now that clear problems have been identified, you can test different tactics to remedy them. Here are those same client examples and what we tested.

Example 1: A highly competitive public school

Problem identified: Applications were up but enrollments were down
Solution: We identified that 61% of applications were abandoned and the written or verbal communication after a lead started an application was minimal and impersonal.
Test: We used personalized, segmented email sequences, local area attraction announcements, and friendly, knowledgeable enrollment coaching to help create a new connection to the university through the entire lead process.

Example 2: An elite Ivy League school

Problem identified: Lack of lead nurturing
Solution: We led a comprehensive lead nurturing and enrollment coaching effort.
Test: We segmented the population into domestic/international high school/college leads. We sent ~1 million emails, fielded 4,000 live chat requests, and more than 600 outbound calls.

The true measure of success is in the results: did you remedy the original problem with your tactic(s)? Here are the results these institutions realized:

  • The highly competitive public school saw a 12% increase in acceptance to deposit.
  • The elite Ivy League school saw an increase in enrollments by 16% making it the university’s largest Summer School Program class to date.

At MindMax, we’re serious about data and the possibilities that good data can provide. In fact, the methods behind the way we treat data inspired one of our core values: Provide Actionable Insights.

Provide Actionable InsightsWe identify patterns and anomalies, construct hypotheses, then test those hypotheses to determine optimal courses of action.


In this new world of more freely accessible data, institutions that learn to harness it appropriately and act on the results they discover will see their enrollment numbers rise above those of their non-data-friendly competitors.

Pay close attention to measuring, managing, and testing your data to not only understand what efforts are impacting your enrollment numbers but also, how you can increase them.

What is your biggest challenge with data to date? Comment below.