Institute for Higher Education

Maximize Yield for Student Enrollment: Practical Advice

In the realm of student recruitment, attracting applicants is only half the battle. The true challenge lies in converting those admitted into enrolled students. Yield management is pivotal in this process, encompassing everything from initial communication and campus tours to enrollment. To improve yield, it’s crucial to identify new tactics that improve yield and shed light on old habits to kick to the curb.  

Yield in college admissions is the percent of students who choose to enroll in a particular college or university after having been offered admission.”

Yield Tactics that Triumph

Be NIMBLE: Being ‘NIMBLE’ with reports means more than just running standard reports. It involves reviewing the data for opportunities and adjusting to improve in meaningful ways. For example, understanding your yield by admitted student visitor by week of the visit can help set KPIs for yield management planning.

Pricing Strategy Goes Beyond Financial Aid: Yield isn’t just about leveraging financial aid. It’s about understanding net price and managing the appeal process effectively. Communicating appeal policies, proactively addressing appeals, and tracking appeal yield YOY are essential.

Yield does not rely on Financial Aid: Financial Aid is not the ONLY reason that students choose a school. Location, Academics, Fit Vibe and Affordability play an equal part. Students will be making an emotional decision versus a financial decision. We suggest you ramp up your ROI and value communications and provide affordability and outcomes stories that will resonate with students and parents.

Value Prop & Communication: With college applications up dramatically this year (and they are… if yours aren’t, that’s a concern), most schools have more applications than they know what to do with as students are applying to more schools than ever before (on average students are applying to six schools) the need for differentiation is critical.  How will you differentiate yourself and share the true value of choosing you?  What tools do you have other than aid offers to do this?
Unveiling your institution’s true value means showcasing what sets it apart—whether it’s the unique location, newly added academic programs, or sports offerings. It’s about setting yourself apart and maintaining a consistent and compelling message. Share unique content, stay authentic and be as clear about next steps as possible. And choosing to partner with faculty for one-on-one communications maybe one advantage you can bring to the table.

Personalized Events and Campus Experience: When it comes to admitted student yield events, don’t just have them. BRING IT. These are not just events for admitted students, they are a unique experience you need to create. Campus visits are not just a ‘tour’–it’s an opportunity to create long lasting impressions. Strive for Disney-like experiences where you are removing obstacles . Think about what will really make students and parents feel important and do that – at every touchpoint from parking in the parking lot to check-in, to presentations, interactions, conversations, meals, gifts and departure.  What will make them feel important?  What will have them say “I wish I didn’t have to leave.  That was an awesome day!” 

Yield Tactics to Kick to the Curb

Rethink Your Yield Mindset: Your approach to yield matters. A “set it and forget it” mentality won’t cut it. Examples include setting up a yield communication strategy like a “drip campaign” but failing to monitor progress or having your financial aid strategy in place but not actively tracking its performance.

Over-Reliance on Digital: While digital marketing is valuable, it shouldn’t be the sole focus of yield management. Geofencing and one-stop digital ads can be part of the strategy, but they shouldn’t overshadow other crucial elements like personalized interactions and targeted outreach efforts.

Complaining About What you Cannot Control: Instead of complaining about challenges like this year’s FASFA deadline delay, seek to understand your specific market and make informed decisions instead.

The blend of proactive mindset shifts, implementation of new tactics, and the abandonment of outdated practices will not only enhance your institution’s yield but also pave the way for a more engaging and successful student recruitment journey.   

Stay nimble, make agile moves, and avoid the “set it and forget it” mentality to ensure a dynamic and successful yield management strategy. 

For more on yield optimization, you can access the webinar here.