Data: The Secret Tool That Increases Student Enrollment
So, chances are you are here because you want to figure out the best way to meet your student enrollment goals. There is a ton of pressure for a universities director of enrollment management to meet these goals. The funding that a public university receives from its state is based on these numbers, and private schools depend heavily on enrollment dollars to fund operations.
You do the research and gather the data, and as all these numbers and data come in, they all seem to blend together. How do you make sense of all this? How to you come up with solutions based on all this data? Looking at key statistics such as student demographics, graduation and retention rates, etc. will give you an idea of what areas you need to work on. Lets dive into this a little deeper.
Enrollment Numbers Low?
Let’s say that your enrollment numbers are low, and you are trying to figure out how to boost these numbers. There could be some tangible reasons why students are hesitant to enroll. One reason could be that there are not enough online courses available. More and more students choose to take online courses instead of attending traditional on-campus courses because it fits with their schedules.
This is especially true for non-traditional students who are older, have families and full-time jobs because they have the flexibility to take classes whenever/wherever they are. To figure out if online classes are an issue you can look at class enrollment data to see how popular online courses are when compared to face to face ones. Or you can survey students who applied to you university and where accepted, but ultimately chose to attend another university.
Students Not Being Retained?
Are you looking at low student retention rates? One reason for this could be that students are signing up for classes without a plan. Look at the data to find out if students are taking classes that do not and will not count towards graduation. Believe me, they are. Enforcing a hold on student’s accounts until they see a career counselor/advisor can help tremendously. This ensures that students check in with an advisor every semester to make sure they are on track and have a plan and that they are not taking unnecessary classes.
Another reason could be that many students are taking the same classes and they are filling up too quickly. You can break down the specific data by major and classes to see what courses and majors are the most popular at your university. This way you can make more room for the courses that are more popular and scale down the courses with small enrollment numbers.
The proof is in the pudding or the data in this case. The data that you receive will not tell you the answer outright but will give you clues as to what areas to focus on. The data speaks for itself and when you look at the data, make sure you break it down to specifics to pinpoint exact issues. It may seem like a lot at first, but once you get the hang of it, you will be a pro at reading data and your enrollment numbers will be back on track in no time.