Enrollment Marketing Essentials:

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Achieve success year after year

Enrollment Marketing

Essentials:

New Insights into

Students’ College Search

and Decision Process

Presented by

Matthew Ward, Ph.D.

California Lutheran University

Pamela Kiecker Royall, Ph.D. Royall & Company

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Presentation overview

• Research summary: College choice survey • Key findings and recommendations

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• High school sophomores, juniors, and seniors – all college inquiries • Surveyed in February and March 2014

• 3,354 participants

Questions focused on six topics:

1. Communication channel preferences for college information

2. Campus visit behaviors and preferences (juniors and seniors only) 3. College applications (seniors only)

4. Concerns about college – students’ and their parents’ 5. Influencers of college choice (juniors and seniors only) 6. Financial considerations (juniors and seniors only)

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• 39.5% high school seniors, 38.4% juniors, 22.1% sophomores • 64.3% female, 35.7% male

• 9.4% will be first in their families to attend college

• 40.4% from low-income households ($60,000 or less), 35.6% from middle-income households ($60,001-$120,000), 22.1% from high-income households ($120,001 or more)

• 68.4% Caucasian, 17.2% Hispanic/Latino, 11.4% Asian, 10.2% African American

• 21.2% reside in the West, 20.8% in the South, 20.2% in the Midwest, 13.8% in the Middle States, 12.7% in the Southwest, 4.6% in New England, and 6.6% outside the U.S. or in the U.S. territories

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Key Enrollment Questions,

Research Findings,

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When do students want information about their

college options?

What information do they need/desire?

What sources of information are they using for

college information?

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When do students want information?

• More students are starting to consider colleges at the beginning of their high school career

− 31.4% of students started looking at colleges in their freshman year or earlier

• Sophomore year (or sooner) is a target year to begin recruiting and sending information to engage college-bound students

− 14.0% of students want schools to start contacting them in their freshman year; 42.3% want contact to begin in their

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Recommendation

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What information do students need or desire?

• Topics for freshmen

− General information about the college – 79.0% − Location of the school and area around it – 57.2% − Available majors/minors – 56.1%

• Topics for sophomores

− General information about the college – 72.3% − Available majors/minors – 69.8%

− Location of the school and area around it – 64.7% − Careers related to specific majors – 56.1%

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What information do students need or desire?

• Topics for juniors

− Costs (e.g., tuition, housing, fees) – 77.6% − Financial assistance options – 74.8%

− Available majors/minors – 74.6% • Topics for seniors

− Housing options – 86.7%

− Financial assistance options – 81.1%

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Topics by class year

FR Year SO Year JR Year SR Year

General information about the college 79.0 72.3 65.0 60.6 Location of the school and area around it 57.2 64.7 69.5 65.3

Available majors/minors 56.1 69.8 74.6 68.0

Careers related to specific majors 46.2 56.1 69.2 70.4 Costs (e.g., tuition, housing, fees) 38.2 50.1 77.6 78.8

Athletics/sports programs 34.7 46.0 60.7 61.8

Student activities 31.8 48.2 69.8 72.4

Financial assistance options 26.4 37.1 74.8 81.1

Facilities on campus 21.4 40.1 69.5 72.2

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Recommendation

Tailor communications to give students the information they want when they want it

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What sources of information are students using?

When exploring college options, what sources of information have you used? Percent

School-specific websites 84.3

Email from schools 77.7

Mail from schools 77.3

College search websites (e.g., College Board, Peterson’s, Naviance) 74.4

Search engines (e.g., Google, Bing, Yahoo) 67.0

Family members 56.5

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The bottom of the list includes:

When exploring college options, what sources of information have you used? Percent

Academic advisors/counselors 48.5

Teachers 46.8

Current college students 43.7

U.S. News & World Report 32.7

College graduates/alumni 31.8

College guidebooks (e.g., Fiske, Barron’s, U.S. News) 28.5 Social media/networking sites (e.g.,Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) 28.5

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Recommendation

Remember that direct mail and email continue to be influential for all students, and most students do not rely on social media as a source of college information

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Cal Lutheran at a glance

• Thousand Oaks, California • 4,160 students

– Undergraduate: 2,808 – Graduate: 1,352

• NCAA Division III • 55% residential

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Cal Lutheran traditional undergraduate enrollment

• Acceptance rate: 61%

• ACT and SAT midranges: 22-26 and 1010-1200 • 80% California

• 30% first-generation college students • 28% Pell-eligible

• 2014 freshman diversity: 5% black, 27% Latino, 7% Asian • Religious affiliation: 30% Catholic, 9% Lutheran

• 2014 enrollment: 556 freshmen and 247 transfers • 2015 goals: 560 freshmen and 250 transfers

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Cal Lutheran recruitment strategy

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Cal Lutheran recruitment strategy

• Freshman and sophomore – Shape perceptions

– “You’re special”: Come visit, online or in person – Value

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Cal Lutheran recruitment strategy

• Junior

– Build relationships

– “You’re special”: Come visit! – Affordability

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Cal Lutheran recruitment strategy

• Senior

– Create experiences

– “You’re special”: Apply! Visit again! – Investment

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How do students make choices about campus

visits?

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Campus visits

– parental influence

• Parents are setting guidelines for campus visits − The timing of visits – 45.5%

− How far the school is from home – 39.6% − Mode of travel – 37.8%

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Campus visits

The top reasons a student visits a college campus: 1. The school is a top choice of mine – 86.4%

2. The school is close by/convenient to visit – 41.0% 3. I am invited to campus by the school – 40.7%

4. I am invited to a special program at the school – 35.4% Two important goals of campus visits:

1. Experience student life 2. Assess financial possibility

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Campus visits

– activities

• Activities included in the ideal campus visit − Tour of the campus – 94.7%

− Meeting current students in your intended major – 74.0% − Attending a class – 69.8%

− Seeing where students spend time outside class – 67.1% − Eating in a dining facility on campus – 59.8%

− Meeting with the admissions staff – 55.7%

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Recommendations

Invite students to campus

Make campus tours “strategic” whenever possible

Consider financial assistance for special segments of students

Convey the student-life experience on your campus

Offer parent programming during student visit

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The Cal Lutheran visit program

• Campus experience coordinator • Online experience and visit system

• Focus on the senses: food, housing, and sunglasses • Lessons from Walmart and Disneyland

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All-Access case study

• Goal: Increase the number of admitted student visitors by 20% – 38% yield rate for students who visit campus

• Invested $40,000 in program enhancements and visit incentives – Gas cards or full travel coverage

– Faculty workshops and student panels

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All-Access case study

• Students who visited after admission increased by 21% • All-Access yield rate was 43.5%

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Who is influencing different aspects of students’

decisions during their college choice process?

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Influencers

Individualsproviding input into visits, applications, and/or enrollment

First-generation students (75.3%) and students from low-income families (79.1%) are less likely to be influenced by their parents than are students whose parents attended college (92.2%) and students from middle-income (95.1%) or high-income (97.9%) families

43.7% 50.3%

56.8%

88.7% Parents Friends Counselors Teachers

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Parents influence HOW a student will choose a

college in terms of cost and distance.

Teachers and counselors influence WHAT a student

will study.

Counselors and friends influence WHERE a student

will apply.

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Influencers

Highlights show the most common influencer(s) for each decision

Parents Teachers Counselors Friends Percent Percent Percent Percent

How much we will spend on tuition 59.3 17.7 28.6 17.0

The distance from home 58.5 20.6 27.5 49.3

What academic major I pursue 58.1 75.2 64.3 54.2

The specific school(s) I consider 57.4 53.2 62.9 63.6

The specific school(s) I apply to 47.7 39.2 53.6 50.3

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Recommendations

Include parents in your communication plan

Provide information about financing a college education early in the students’ high school career

Make certain high school teachers and counselors have the information about your school that they need to help

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Cal Lutheran’s strategy for influencing the influencers

• More robust parent communication plan

– Capture 38% of parent emails at the search stage, 80% at the application stage, and 86% at the admission stage

– Drive home deadlines and visit opportunities • CLU 101 for college counselors

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Future considerations for Cal Lutheran

• Changing demographics • Affordability

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Summary: Communication strategies for achieving

enrollment goals

• Contact students earlier

• Search students year-round

• Engage students through persistent communications • Optimize all communications for mobile applications • Collect parent email addresses

• Develop parent communication programs • Invite students (and their families) to campus

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Thank you!

Research report available CONTACT INFORMATION: Pamela Kiecker Royall

pkiecker@royall.com 800.899.7227 (office)

804.402.9149 (mobile) – for contact during the conference Matthew Ward

mward@CalLutheran.edu 805.493.3481

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