One thing is clear. There is no crystal ball that perfectly predicts incoming enrollment every year. According to Noel Levitz’s State of Admissions Report, with students applying to more schools, putting down multiple enrollment deposits, and with so many other moving parts, it’s becoming increasingly challenging to predict the likelihood that students will enroll in your institution.
In our 2013 Yield Trends Survey, we heard again and again from Admissions leaders that the most important phase of the yield cycle was to get students to
campus for general visits and admitted student days. While we agree these events represent a genuine interest from students to learn more about your university, not all students have the time or resources to make these events.
Campus Event Limitations
While both campus visits and admitted student days can be valuable for prospective students and their chosen institutions, these events cannot always be attended due to timing, expenses, or prior commitments. After working with the University of Denver for the past two years to engage their admitted students in a virtual online community, we were curious how three single predictors (campus visit, admitted student day attendance, and Schools App membership) each correlated with students’ deposit behavior.
A Visit to the University of Denver ‘Virtual’ Campus Community
The University of Denver shared admit data from their 2012 and 2013 cohorts, providing specific information about whether admitted students visited campus and attended specific admitted student events (i.e. Pioneer Days) and correlated the data with their deposit behavior.
The results demonstrated:
● Schools App members were 6.3 times more likely to deposit than non-members
● Pioneer Day attendees were 4.5 times more likely to deposit than non-attendees
● Campus visitors were 3.9 times more likely to deposit than non-campus visitors
Expanding Student Access and Reach
Furthermore, we found that the Schools App was able to reach approximately three times the amount of admits than attendance at Pioneer Days. Examining both 2012 and 2013 data, the graph below depicts the percentage of admits that Denver reached with their online community.
The University of Denver’s admitted student body is composed of over 71% out-of-state and international students, and we consider the online community as a key place for admits to connect and engage before they even step foot on campus. Evidence demonstrates that Schools App reached over twice as many out-of-state and international admits as compared to Colorado admits.
While there’s no denying the importance of campus visits and admitted student days in the students’ college decision, it is interesting to see how students’ online activity can be used as a comparable, if not stronger, predictor of deposit beh
avior. As students continue to spend more time online engaging with colleges, digital predictive indicators will be more common as schools are looking to measure, improve and predict future enrollment outcomes.