A declining high school graduate population coupled with current economic and public health concerns indicate higher-ed will now be competing for an increasingly shrinking pool of prospective students. Knowing this, it is more important than ever for universities to eliminate barriers to student enrollment.
For starters, prospective students (and their families) are currently being required to navigate a complex process that lacks clear information about requirements and degree pathways. Adding more urgency, the current rise in transfer students indicates academic journeys will be increasingly complicated. So, in order to attract and successfully enroll today’s students, universities will be required to prioritize the visibility of clear pathways to a degree.
However, every institution has a different set of “rules” and processes to navigate. With prospective students coming from a variety of paths, backgrounds and resources, it is difficult for universities to dedicate the human resources necessary to provide personalized support. One way to scale support for individual journeys is to enable self-service for prospective students who may be exploring enrollment at the institution.
What does this channel look like? In order to engage today’s prospective students and ensure adoption, it must be seamless and digital. A prospective student pathway finder should allow prospective students to create a log-in, upload any prior education and exam records, receive program recommendations, and explore pathways according to their interests and prior education records. For transfer students, these maps will show the course curriculum for specific majors, including recommendations based on both interests and work completed to date, and illustrate the preferred pathway between partnering institutions.
This can also become a marketing tool for universities when it allows "stealth applicants" to explore an institution's program offerings without starting the application process. Institutions are then provided with a "qualified lead" that can be loaded into the institution's CRM for recruiting purposes and can create a high-touch opportunity for supporting the prospective student journey.
If your institution is interested in finding more ways to attract and engage prospective students, we’d love to share more about our digital tools that our partners are using to help drive enrollment and better support their incoming student processes.