Student recruitment

Improving admissions yield in a “new normal”

Using the right tools and strategies, universities can improve their yields despite the increasingly competitive landscape. We talk about three things you can do now to stay ahead.

Leslie Birch
March 21, 2022
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4 min

The pandemic has wreaked havoc on all higher education sectors, with universities globally experiencing a drop in the number of new undergraduate applicants. Enrollment among international students was hit especially hard, with the National Student Clearinghouse reporting an 11.2% decrease in international applications as cited by CNBC

A smaller pool of applicants combined with the fact that 36% percent of incoming first-year students apply to more than seven universities (according to NACAC) has put even more pressure on admissions teams to improve their admission yield rates. 

The good news is that pandemic-related restrictions seem to be slowly subsiding worldwide. And despite the pandemic, global demand for international education remains strong, according to our recent study. So how can universities fine-tune their yield strategies in a very competitive landscape? We would recommend these three things.

Three ways to improve your yield strategy

Engage with accepted students

Keep building on established connections with accepted students by communicating with them through their preferred medium — the digital space. Student communications shouldn't cease once they've received their acceptance letter and are informed of the looming May 1st deposit deadline.

The post-acceptance stage is precisely when you'll most want to keep your incoming student highly engaged! In addition to communicating need-to-know deadlines and information, you should also share personalized content that keeps them excited and further supports their decision to choose your school over all others. 

Utilize insights on demonstrated interest

Personalized content especially resonates with students who've already indicated a strong interest in your university — increasing the likelihood of enrolling. Cialfo's new Connections feature, which is being rolled out in phases across our K12 network, makes it easy to identify those pre-qualified students and build authentic connections and create targeted communications all along their application journey — from the first time they download your brochure or attend an event in the platform to the minute they submit their final application. 

Connect with the students that are interested in your university

When a student "connects" with your university, you'll gain unprecedented insights into their behavior and engagement points with your school. This information will help you quickly identify students who have demonstrated interest in your university and enable you to tailor your messaging to match those students' interests (versus generic, one-fits-all mass emails). 

You'll be able to connect more meaningfully with students (and their school counselors and parents as well) with the ability to: 

  • Gauge a student's actual interest level based on the connections they establish with your university.
  • Connect with students on a deeper level with an informed view into whether your university is on a student's longlist, shortlist, or applying list.
  • Increase engagement using content formats that appeal to Gen Z students — videos, events, webinars, brochures  — and the "connect" button.

 More quickly identifying interested students and keeping them engaged at every point of the application journey is just one way to improve your admissions yield this year. 

Use data strategically

Another tool to help you meet your annual yield goals involves the strategic use of data to build your enrollment plan and reach the right students. Cialfo's Higher Ed Insights helps universities do just that by providing data on global application trends, identifying international schools whose students would be a good fit, helping them interpret global market conditions, and much more. The amount of data available through Higher Ed Insights is vast, built upon:

  • Insights from 260,000+ students
  • International admissions data for 50+ countries 
  • 500+ leading international high schools
  • 1.4 million applications over the past ten years

When it comes to achieving yield goals, the data in Higher Ed Insights can help universities generate a more substantial return on investment through targeted region and school outreach. One example of using data from the platform to increase yield would be identifying demand for international financial aid (e.g., across particular areas, high schools, countries, etc.) and structuring your scholarships to improve enrollment. 

As we emerge from the pandemic, universities will be even more competitive than ever to convince their admitted students that they've made the right decision. The time is now for your enrollment team to take advantage of tools like Cialfo to identify which students are most likely to commit and build authentic connections with those students through their native digital platforms!

To learn more about how you can utilize tools within Cialfo to improve your admission yields, contact us today.

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