Several factors contribute to the success of a world class enrollment team. One of these key ingredients lies in how efficient and responsive they are. Applicants are not only looking for personalized attention at each step but also looking to get it quick. More than ever, relevant, valuable and timely information could be ample determinants in a prospect’s decision. And this ultimately links back to the enrollment system in place.
Enrollment systems, when implemented correctly, give admission teams a better leverage over student needs and motivations. The entire process, from contact to conversion, becomes seamless with a centralized system in place. Let’s take an organized look at some of the reasons why automated enrollment systems have become a priority when it comes to student enrollment.
What is an Enrollment System?
One of the ripple effects of the stifling competition for education institutes is the growing necessity for schools to enhance their mechanisms for better serving applicant’s queries and objections. This is where enrollment systems come into play, simplifying and accelerating student enrollment
In simpler words, an enrollment system combines all activities involved in the entire enrollment process and integrates them into a system. This way, everything happens in one place, both online and offline. The conversation happened with the prospects, the pages they are visiting, their interests and motivations, their personal details, the meetings scheduled with them to name a few. The overall objective of an enrollment system is to help admission teams ultimately enroll more students.
What is the difference between Enrollment System and Education CRM?
It is really difficult to have a generic definition for an education CRM because it is a used very differently across various institutes. It is tuned to manage certain micro-processes; therefore it is very difficult to define it. Let’s take the example of a micro-process
- Designing registration forms for events.
- Single registration/multi registration criteria
- Automatic invitations to the attendees
- Sending reminder emails
- Track cancellation of the event
- Track attendance of the event
- Send an email with a feedback form
- Mark students who are interested in the enrollment
You can see this is one of the many micro-processes happening in an institute. A CRM is fully capable of handling this whereas enrollment system or enrollment management system only deals with managing processes which are directly related to enrollment or admission.
What features you should look for in an Enrollment System?
As with all tech platforms, enrollment systems offer certain features that combine to get the job done, which is increasing enrollment efficiency in this case. It is these features that make the decision to adopt an effective solution for admissions a really smart one.
Admission teams often require this understanding when answering the seemingly tough question; what should I be looking out for when choosing an enrollment system for my school?
The admission process begins long before the applicant ever submits their first application. It starts when the prospects are weighing their options. As an admission officer, when a student asks to know more about your school, there is a very high chance that they are doing the same to several other schools. To keep ahead of the competition, you need to serve them before they do.
This is where an intuitive enrollment system gives you the edge – it stores all inquiries and communication about enrollment, automatically sends relevant information their way and instantly notifies you about the inquiry. You can also distribute these leads to your team members based on location and expertise while keeping an overlooking eye on the whole process.
It is not possible to be available to answer a prospect’s query 24/7. Inquiries can come on a weekend also. What will happen after 6:00 pm in the evening, when your team is away. Automated follow-ups or autoresponders solve this problem. It is not a generic” Thank you for your interest. We will contact you later” message but it is intelligent enough to decide what an applicant wants by reading their behavior.
Your admission team can receive email and text notifications on their mobile phones every time an important, enrollment-centric action is performed. The system can be integrated with individual email accounts, where conversations with prospects can be easily monitored and actions can be taken viz-a-viz these conversations.
Setting Parameters for Lead Prioritization
Another important feature is one that allows you to sort your prospects based on your ideal student persona. Enrollment system allows you to identify which applicants are the best fit for your institution by comparing in-system parameters like their age, location, the course of interest, GPA/test results, etc. to a new inquiry. This way your admission team can chase the best inquiries first and filter out the junk ones.
Communication and behavior tracking
The enrollment system stores all the communication and student behavior in one centralized view. Which means the admission rep has the visibility of all the necessary information about the prospect. Even when they follow up with the applicant they have clarity on what the applicant is up to and where did they leave him last time. This also makes sure that the admission team has the context to the conversation every time.
Apart from that each activity your prospect does is given a score based on its importance for example- email opened is given 2 points and filling up a contact form is given 5 points. The cumulative score of an applicant is the reflection of how active they are on your website and other marketing channels.
There’s only one way to know if you’re doing the right thing with your enrollment process. Data analysis. It spells everything out; the ratio of inquiries to applications; the best source of inquiry generation, the ratio of complete to incomplete applications; major locations where inquiries are coming from; and many more. The value that these insights bring cannot be overemphasized. Perhaps a read of the University of Oklahoma’s story of how it reached an enrollment record through analytics will be more convincing.
It is easy to lose track of activities when there’s no way of tracking them. An automated system simplifies the job of assigning tasks to members of an admissions team, as well as monitoring the execution, from counseling to spontaneous requests to attending scheduled meetings with applicants. A single lapse can lead to the drop-off of a prospect. This is why an enrollment system with a task management feature is important to student enrollment. The tasks could also be synced with mobile devices.
Why Enrollment Systems Are Important
What makes an enrollment system so integral to the success of admission teams in higher education? Why should institutions be doing everything they can to integrate their entire admission process? Here are some top reasons that give answers to these questions.
A chance to strongly compete for applicants
One of the unwanted statistics in the higher education ecosystem is the shrinking in the pool of applicants. The aftermath of this is the stiff competition that now exists for students. Over in the UK for instance, applications to attend universities in the country have decreased by 11,000.
This dip in applications hasn’t stopped the growing numbers of colleges. To harness the available, enrollment teams need to approach the admission process smartly. And this is where the importance of an automated enrollment system shines through. It is vital to enrollment management and so far, the colleges and universities doing better at enrolling students are those who have adopted smart application systems.
Attend to queries faster than ever before
Here’s a simple truth about student enrollment; the faster your responses to prospects’ requests, the higher your chances of engaging them. In today’s generation, no one wants to wait for ages for an admissions officer to attend to their inquiries when there’s another school out there waiting to attend to them. Because of the mobile nature of automated enrollment systems, admission officers can attend to inquiries on the go. They don’t have to be behind computers to get the job done.
Climbing the Roadblocks
Adopting enrollment systems may come across as tiring and burdensome for your admission team. This isn’t exactly the case as the new age enrollment systems are easy to learn and implement, especially because they come with plug and play model. It is with this perspective that admission teams should approach the implementation of such software.
These systems offer schools the chance to get the most out of their recruitment strategy by increasing the catching every opportunity which comes your way. However, this can only happen when you implement the most suitable enrollment system for your admission process. One that not only helps you stay ahead of the competition but to also remain there.
Agree? Disagree? Let’s discuss in the comments.