Three ways to improve your college’s recruitment program

Colleges’ recruitment efforts are based on large amounts of student data.

In today’s competitive climate, institutions face a significant conundrum: the need to simultaneously increase student enrollment and reduce student recruitment costs. This challenge has motivated institutions to stretch beyond their traditional recruitment boundaries.

In fact, admissions offices across the U.S. are taking a deep look into how they manage the student enrollment process. In many cases, institutions have adopted a business approach to enrollment management.

The admissions offices at these institutions apply a robust set of tools within their Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) system to assist them with targeting and reaching specific student populations, often outside their traditional target population.

One of the biggest benefits campuses derive from CRM is the impact of data reporting and analytics.

Innovative admissions offices leverage deep and revealing data reports to provide clarity of both enrollment progress as well as the need for shifts in enrollment strategies, so that they can truly manage the enrollment process and reach their institutional goal.

Higher education CRM has historically been viewed as technology alone, often times delivering capabilities not found in institutional legacy information systems. Marketplace confusion exists around the link between enrollment management and CRM.

It would be difficult at best for institutions to meet enrollment goals without effectively supporting interactions with students, or to realize value from their CRM without developing a strategy for managing recruitment and retention. In fact, enrollment management and CRM should be tightly linked.

Pave the way for a successful implementation

Consider these best practices to ensure a smooth CRM implementation:

1. Integration timing is key: Some organizations are so concerned with meeting set deadlines that  they begin the integration process prematurely – before the configuration is complete or the technical requirements have been truly identified.

Ideally, complete your system configuration before moving onto integration. This can avoid the need for unnecessary backpedaling for everyone involved and help the team reach its go-live date.

It takes a village: Successful implementations involve ongoing engagement between outside partners, the enrollment team, and IT experts. Your CRM implementation champion serves as the system integration project owner. Teams that foster dialogue throughout the process typically experience the smoothest transitions.

2. Testing pays off in the long run: Nobody likes to stare at rows upon rows of comma delimited fields looking for inconsistencies or errors. But the CRM project champion knows the data best, and therefore ownership of testing process must lie here, as even a minor error leads to bumpy roads.

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