The Best Enrollment Management Strategies: What Are They?

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Elena

04/09/2023
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Strategic enrollment management, or SEM, refers to the idea that higher learning institutions must take measures to attract a diverse group of students while also doing things that allow those students to afford college, a challenging task to say the least.

Most universities have specific plans in writing to help them accomplish this goal, which is necessary for it to happen. They do this in numerous ways, but mostly by establishing very specific steps that need to be taken in order to ensure all students who wish to go to college are able to do so.

What Is an Enrollment Management Strategy?

There are numerous reasons why colleges need an SEM, one of which is the fact that a college education is becoming more expensive and financial aid is becoming scarcer and sometimes harder to get.

This means it is more difficult for colleges to recruit the best students. To be effective and produce the right results, your SEM must have the following characteristics:

  • It has to clearly identify your goals.
  • It has to measure success accurately.
  • It has to serve students better.
  • It has to maximize your institutional resources.

If you are in the process of either developing your first SEM or tweaking your current one so you can improve it, it is best to start by deciding which enrollment management strategies are going to be the most effective.

Each university is a little different, but there are five strategies that seem to work for at least most of them, and those are described below.

What Are Some Enrollment Management Strategies?

Enrollment management strategies need to be well thought-out and always put in writing. If you find you need to update or revise any of them at any time, it should be easy to do.

Finally, everyone on campus should have access to the strategies because it takes the efforts of everyone put together to make them work. Below are five very effective enrollment management strategies:

1. Always Put the Students First

This should go without saying but is extremely important. You need to use feedback from students and market research to make your decisions, which is an excellent way to start.

After all, the entire reason for establishing enrollment management strategies is to make sure it’s a little easier, especially for certain students, to make it to the college campus.

When planning your strategies, take a look at the entire student experience. Look at it from their point of view so you can learn what changes you need to make to make it better for your students.

From your programs to your extracurricular activities and everything in between, everything you do to improve the university should be geared towards the students.

2. Take Advantage of the Latest Technology

Technological tools will improve your efficiency and make the student experience much better. These tools can help cut red tape, allow departments to communicate with one another more easily, and let students focus more on learning.

They can include case management tools, social media platforms, and CRM solutions, to name a few.

Fortunately, there are tons more tools that can help you troubleshoot issues and help improve communications between different departments on campus.

This, in turn, allows for more efficiency across campus, something that saves everyone, including students, both money and time. And with technology constantly improving, it will continue to benefit all departments on campus.

3. Keep in Mind the Importance of Your Data

If you want students to succeed and you’re developing methods to make that happen, always keep your data in mind to help you make the right decisions.

Some of the things to look at include data involving demographics, occupational trends, and of course, enrollment, and if you use them properly, it will be much easier to make the right decisions for improvement.

With accurate data, you can look at what your school currently offers to its students and what might be beneficial for it to offer in the future.

Once you know how to analyze the data, it will become clear what is working and what isn’t working, allowing you to take the things that aren’t improving and change them so that they are.

4. Make Sure All of Your Employees Are Involved With the Process

Always allow both faculty and staff to be a part of this process by doing things such as asking their input and even allowing them to help you establish what your goals should be.

When other employees aren’t involved, it makes them feel like they’re not a part of the program and therefore, they usually lose interest in it. Getting them involved means they’ll feel a part of it the entire time.

You should also send them regular updates so they continue to feel like a part of it all, including emails and other communication describing the progress of the program up to that point.

With regular communication and involvement of all employees, it’s much more likely that the program will be a huge success in the end.

5. Remember That Accountability Is Crucial

Your SEM plan is only successful if you put the effort into it and you take steps to keep yourself accountable for its progress.

If you review the plan on a regular basis, you can keep up with your goals and objectives and make sure that things are running smoothly and as you’d planned. This also allows you to tweak it occasionally so that it remains relevant and up-to-date.

To do this, you can use numbers and data, including the number of FAFSA submissions, enrollment deposits, registrations for orientation, and any housing applications you’ve received.

You can then compare these numbers to the numbers from the previous year, which can help you gauge your success and help you determine what to do next if you aren’t meeting your goals.

What to Do to Get Started on Your SEM?

To get started on a strategic enrollment management plan is easier if you look at templates and examples of some of the ones already being utilized. Your plan should always have an Introduction and a Conclusion, and some of the things that might go in the middle might include:

  • Strategy for Student Retention and Student Success
  • Strategy for Student Recruitment and Enrollment
  • Strategy for Marketing and Student Financial Support
  • General Assessments of the Situation and the Institution

You can include any of these topics or many others, and you don’t have to use suggestions you find online, or the suggestions above.

While most SEMs need to include sections that evaluate current situations and plans and goals for the future, they don’t need to be in a certain order or look just like the SEM of another institution.

Conclusion

Enrollment management strategies listed on a strategic enrollment management (SEM) plan need to be very detailed, always in writing, involve all of your employees, use realistic data, utilize the best technology, and most importantly, devise a plan that always puts the students’ needs first and foremost.

Only by putting students first can you come up with the perfect SEM.

When your university decides to devise a set of enrollment strategies, there are numerous resources available that can help.

Most are located online, which makes the process much easier. Any way you look at it, these strategies are crucial to the success of your institution.

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