With more universities expanding their online and nontraditional programs, how can you connect with working adults and nontraditional students? Institutions with a robust system that engages and manages leads throughout the enrollment lifecycle are more likely to excel in today’s challenging environment.
Imagine a broad and robust system that keeps students engaged from the first time you connect until they graduate. Picture a place where internal resources, external tools, and people all work together to support students and prospective students from interest through enrollment and beyond. We call this an Enrollment Management Ecosystem.
The Ecosystem approach to enrollment management is particularly important today, as more post-traditional students look for opportunities to advance their education. Post-traditional students are juggling many responsibilities, including work and family. Even though college is important to these students, they may not have a single-minded focus on completing their application or their education. An enrollment management ecosystem can help you keep the attention of these students, which will enable you to reach your enrollment goals.
Ecosystems and Funnels
Adopting an ecosystem approach to enrollment management doesn’t mean you reject the traditional enrollment funnel. On the contrary, the funnel is still a valuable way to measure a student’s progress toward enrollment and their engagement through to graduation. With an ecosystem in place, potential students still move through the funnel.
With a well-developed enrollment management ecosystem in place, you have an environment that is proactive in supporting the student, not just reactive when they have questions or concerns. When their attention wanders, the ecosystem gently nudges it back to you. When obstacles arise, the ecosystem notices and presents solutions.
With a pure funnel approach, when students drop out, they’re likely gone forever. They have to move smoothly from one level to the next or you lose them. When your funnel is supported by an ecosystem, there’s always something in the system ready to target and reorient students, reducing dropouts and melt.
The Ecosystem’s Essential Elements
An enrollment management ecosystem is made up of three parts. Each part works together to create a functional system. Weakness in any part will cause weakness in the system as a whole. On the other hand, improving any part improves the whole system. In contrast, improving one portion of the funnel only helps move students to the next level. The improvement has little or no effect on the previous levels.
The Three Parts of an Enrollment Management Ecosystem:
Internal systems include all the tools and technology your organization controls. Ex. hardware, website, registration system, application system, landing page. You have full control over these systems and how they present your program to prospective students.
External platforms and resources encompass any outside tools or technologies. Ex. Google ads, Facebook page, traditional media. You use these platforms, but you don’t control them.
People tie everything together. They communicate internally and externally, making sure all the pieces continue to work and work well. At the same time, they provide a personal touch for prospective students.
Start Building Your Ecosystem
Supporting your enrollment funnel with a robust enrollment management ecosystem can help you meet your goals semester after semester. Building an Enrollment Management System takes time, effort and commitment. Download our ebook Building and Enrollment Management Ecosystem to learn more about the elements of the ecosystem and how you can start building your own ecosystem.