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35% of Prospect Student’s Can’t Do This ONE Thing

EDU Research Reveals Surprising Barrier to Enrollment

Dream Big.” “Reach for the Stars.” “If you believe it, you can achieve it.” These types of sayings feel omnipresent in career counseling offices, right up there with the frazzled kitten precariously dangled from a tree branch whose soft face and dark saucer eyes implore onlookers with the caption “hang in there.”

Kitten hangs from tree branch

Where did every guidance counselor get this poster?

Most people hear these platitudes about goal setting their whole lives, but far fewer are given the tools to follow through. What does it actually look like, in a practical sense, to pursue your goals? 

Enrollment Resources recently published findings from extensive EDU market research that included data from over 250,000 prospective career education students across North America and a surprising finding stood out:

When asked about goals for the future, 35.62% of prospective students surveyed selected the response “I want a better life for sure, I just have trouble imagining the details.”

How Thoughtful Admissions Practices Can Help Prospects Clarify Goals & Remove a Hidden Barrier to Enrollment

The application of practical goal setting is something many people are never taught. Those of us in EDU, especially those at private career colleges, are in a unique position to help prospective students break down the practical steps that can help them build a brighter future. A student may inquire about a particular program or know that they need some sort of professional skills in order to get ahead, but it’s not uncommon for them to struggle to imagine details beyond that. That’s where you come in.

Below are three steps to keep in mind when you help prospective students to imagine their potential future. 

#1. Break it Down: Practical, Achievable Steps
The gap from initial inquiry to new career can seem gargantuan when you don’t know the steps. It would be like trying to drive from L.A. to NYC without a road map, just two distant points with no clues of how to get from one to the other. If you had infinite time and resources that mapless road trip might be fun, but that’s not the case for our prospective students. As an Admissions professional, you can fill in that road map.

Much smaller than the gap between where a student is when they inquire and where they want to ultimately end up in their career is the gap between speaking with you and speaking with Financial Aid or other staff. That’s a manageable first step. What’s the next step in your enrollment process? And the step after that?

When you break down the enrollment, school and employment pursuit process into simple steps, you help prospective students gain an accessible road map to their future.

#2. Get Clarity: The Power of Specificity
Specifics take “pie in the sky” dreams and ground them in reality. It’s the difference between “I want a new car” and “I want a gently used 2012 Mazda3.” “I want to get married” and “I want to marry my best friend’s husband Todd.” Perhaps more relevant to our situation, it’s the difference between “I’d like to help people” and “I want to work as a patient care aide at the long-term care facility near my house.”

Thoughtful questions like “what motivated you to reach out today?” and “what makes you interested in this field?” not only help you get to know the prospect you’re speaking with, they help you to understand the prospect’s drive. This forms the foundation for the portrait of the prospect’s future you’re helping to build.

#3: Explain Potential Challenges
Have you ever hit the gym hard on January 1st only to fall off your “New Year New You” exercise regime weeks later? (No. Me Either :P). Often when we get off track from long-term goals it’s due to a failure to address potential challenges that may arise. Sometimes even just the fear of getting off track is enough to derail us.

As humans, we are motivated not only by achievement but by the anticipation of achievement. When you address potential obstacles, and help prospective students to visualize the ways they have within their means to overcome those difficulties, you go a long way to illustrating the way in which successful graduation and the pursuit of a rewarding career is within the prospects’ abilities to accomplish; this can provide incredible motivation.

TIP: Remember to Meet Prospects Where They Are
As an Admissions professional, it’s vital to remember what it was like to NOT know all the ins and outs of your school and things like education financing. Work from a place of empathy and remember that many prospects will be learning about career education for the first time.

In this role, you are uniquely qualified to provide clarity for prospective students about your school and their future. When you utilize goal-setting techniques you can help students to practically envision the steps along the way to their desired future and remove a sizable barrier to potential enrollment.

Want to see more from this in-depth research? Access the Hidden Motivations of Prospective Students report here.

How to Write Compliant Copy That Converts

How to Write Compliant Copy That Converts from Enrollment Resources

Original photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

The typical approach for EDU digital marketing is centered around building an empirical argument to pursue training. Most marketers (us included) build arguments that rely on factual claims like placement rate, completion rate and graduate salaries to provide proof of the school’s value, followed by a call to action to fill out a form in return for more information about the school. This model is focused on sharpening that argument with hard data.

It’s not a bad approach and most schools do have stats to be proud of, but it does ride a compliance edge. If the data isn’t spectacular (i.e., completion rate or placement rate isn’t solid) or, more likely, claims rely on data that isn’t current, compliance problems arise. It’s easy for a school to overstate performance metrics mistakenly, and easier still for a landing page or website copy that was written months or years ago to get overlooked when new stats emerge.

Read more

The Hidden Motivations Of Your Prospective Students

Enrollment Resources recently compiled data from over 125,000 prospective students who had completed a detailed online survey delving into their goals, frustrations, motivations and current life/work situations. We call this the “Career Training Readiness Quiz” (powered by our Virtual Adviser software). It is designed to do two things: Engage prospective students on the school’s website to help generate additional leads – typically a 30 percent bump in website generated lead flow – and help the prospective student understand if they are a fit for vocational education. Roughly 2.2 percent of unique visitors to a typical school’s website will engage with this survey.

The sample represented about 90 school systems across the U.S. and Canada with a wide variety of programs, including both male- and female-dominated programs.

Our analysis of the results has uncovered fascinating insights into career education prospective students, including where they are in their buying process, their dominant personality styles and how to communicate with them effectively, and the number one motivating trigger driving their buying decisions. Read more

Marketing now controls two-thirds of the admissions process

Female student at computerToday, prospective students do most of their research about their EDU buying decision away from the school. When an Admissions Advisor connects with a student, they are about 2/3 along the buying funnel.

Enrollment Management Tip:

Focus your copywriter/ad agency to up their game. Promotional material should answer only one question: “Why should someone put their life in your hands?”

New Research – Call Length to Appointment Set Rate Conference Call

New research: How quality discussions with prospective students impacts enrollment rate…

First point of contact with a potential student is the murky area where marketing ends and the admissions process begins.  A weak process during this stage in the enrollment process can reduce revenues by as much as 30%.  At Enrollment Resources (ER), we know that small process improvements throughout the enrollment process can result in retaining that revenue.

In this recorded conference call, Gregg Meiklejohn from ER and Martin Lind from Velocify share new research about the dynamics between the length of calls with inquiries and appointment set rate.  What is the ideal call length?  The answer might surprise you.  We will also explore what is the best call length during the morning, afternoon and evening and the days of the week.

Would You Spy on Your Admissions Staff?

When I was a young boy I was in Cub Scouts, the precursor to Boy Scouts. One session we made homemade periscopes, manufactured from cardboard boxes and a couple small rectangular mirrors. The periscopes were painted inside and out in flat black paint. I was now in possession of a three foot long instrument of stealth. A flat black spying machine just like the sub commanders used in the movie Das Boot.

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