Five Ways Technology can Drive College Enrollment

June 24, 2022
  • Enrollment Goals
  • corporate
  • Technology
Group of students using laptops.

Sponsored by Gecko

Enrollment. It's tough out there right now, especially in the US. The pandemic brought a future problem - the 2025 enrollment cliff - right into focus. And while it may have once felt a comfortable distance away, there's no escaping it. 

The New York Times recently reported that 662,000 fewer students enrolled in Spring 2022 undergraduate programs than the year before, a drop of 4.7%. It's clear, therefore, that the challenge is a big one. The pool of available students has shrunk. Meanwhile, the competition is heating up. So how do you successfully drive college enrollment? 

At Gecko, we believe the key to keeping students engaged throughout the enrollment funnel is technology. Whether it's chatbots, automated texts, or a whole platform that enables powerful insights, smart technology is key to student engagement. 

Increase efficiency 

Technology can enable you to work smarter, even when you don't have additional staff support. For example, despite sector-wide declines, the daily volume of data admissions teams manage is enormous. Technology can help you better meet that demand. 

For example, one of our customers told us how bringing a chatbot to their institution helped them process an additional 50,000 applications each year. The bot also helped them answer nearly 25k emails (24,245, to be specific) while no one was in the office. 

It's not just chatbots, either. Automating your admissions funnel means you no longer need to spend hours on time-consuming manual tasks. Cloning events means you can create a repeatable process for your events that you can duplicate and scale. All of this helps you work smarter, more efficiently, and deliver a better experience to prospects. 

24/7 customer service 

Want to create a best-in-class level of customer service? Want to deliver experiences that are in line with student expectations? Technology is the only answer. Unfortunately, the reality is that prospective students will disengage if finding what they need takes too long. They'll get their eyes turned by the competition, and you won't see them for dust. 

On the other hand, technology enables you to create a 24/7 customer service experience that more than delivers on their expectations. Just put yourself in their shoes. If you want to find out more about a product or service and get stuck on hold, can't get an answer, or get passed from one person to the next, that's a poor experience. Compare that to having your inquiry answered instantly, along with pointers to helpful additional resources. 

One of our clients told us how leveraging Gecko technology helped them create a better customer experience and one that was more robust, too. They said, "Now, 24/7 customer service doesn't have to be sacrificed when there is a staff shortage." 

More data, more insights 

When you're engaging with students, you're collecting data points about them. You're finding out what courses they want to study, where they live, what tuition fees they qualify for, and all that good stuff. However, if you're using disparate, siloed systems, you may not be able to get eyes on that data, let alone use it. But when you use a student engagement platform, leveraging that data becomes much more manageable. 

You can track and monitor all the data points that will help you nudge prospective students along the enrollment funnel. You can see what they're engaging with and ignoring and hone your strategy to hook them back where you need to. 

● Send them tailored content in your email communications 

● Proactively text them about events they may want to attend 

● Send them follow-up communications ahead of the competition ● Text them reminders when important deadlines are coming up 

One of our customers uses Gecko to gauge the interest of prospective students. They're then able to tailor their marketing strategy depending on projected yield. 

Elevate your events 

Recruitment events are a great way to put your best foot forward and wow your guests, whether virtual, at a recruitment fair, or on campus. Seamless technology will give students an experience they remember for all the right reasons. 

Think about it: visit days can be stressful for prospects. They don't know how to get there, where to park, or where they check-in when they arrive; all of these things can compound and leave them with a bad taste in their mouth. Not the way to win prospects around.

If you dial up your communication, you can enhance their experience. For example, send students a reminder email the night before with directions. Text them to let them know where to park. Send them another text once they check in with all the on-the-day information they need. Not only are you empowering your visitors, but you're also saving your team valuable time. Do all this, and you'll have students leaving your campus with 'the feels.'

Power-up personalization 

If you want students to choose your school, they must be able to picture themselves there, right? So it's up to you to paint that picture for them through the digital experiences you create. But how? Well, you use technology to dial-up personalization through every step of the process, from their first engagement to when they hit 'apply.' 

Let's share an example. One of our customers recently told us how they created digital prospectuses tailored to the candidate, depending on the region they were applying from and the area of study they were interested in. Another school told us how they map prospects to student telecounselors from the same hometown so that they can have important peer-to-peer conversations and create a sense of belonging. 

Other schools collect data from chat conversations to deliver tailored, targeted content to students. If you speak to everyone, you speak to no one. But if you get granular with your personalization, you'll make students feel less like a number and more like they matter.