Are you constantly working to hold declining enrollment and retention numbers at bay? You’re not alone. Over 50% of public colleges and more than two thirds of private colleges failed to meet their enrollment targets in 2016, and declining enrollment continues to be a stressor for higher ed institutions worldwide.
Much of the change in enrollment rates can be attributed to shifts in demographics, as the idea of one “traditional” college student gives way to high school graduates of all backgrounds, according to The Huffington Post. As the demographics of high school graduates shift, how institutions respond to these changes will contribute to shaping their enrollment and potentially funding success.
Meeting the diverse needs of all types of learners is crucial to institutional success. Learn how some institutions are turning to mobile to meet these needs and, in turn, increase student enrollment on campus.
1. Virtual Tours & Content
Increasingly, prospective students are applying to college while juggling jobs, family commitments, and more. They may be high school seniors, but they may also be adult learners and returning learners. The one-size-fits-all approach to recruiting students no longer applies. The institutions that have realized these trends are incorporating virtual elements into their appeals to prospective students. The college touring trip, with visits to a dozen schools accompanied by hands-on parents, may be giving way to technology-enhanced tours that don’t require living in proximity to campus or jumping on a cross-country flight.
Colleges like Texas A&M have deployed virtual campus tours through their mobile campus app to give prospective students an inside look at life on campus, student traditions, and more. Through Modo’s integration with Concept 3D CampusBird, Texas A&M creates opportunities for prospective students near and far to explore whether the college is a good fit for them. Going further, they create a centralized hub of dynamic content through their mobile app—featuring social media feeds, blogs, videos, and more—to engage prospective students throughout the consideration, application, and decision-making process.
2. Easy Application Processes
The digital gap can be a real hindrance to getting college applications in on time, and closing that gap will take concerted effort as colleges recruit more students from low-income backgrounds. While smartphone ownership in low-income households still lags behind that of higher income households, adults in households making $30,000 or less are much more likely to own a smartphone than a desktop computer. In fact, 1 in 5 people living in low-income households report being a “smartphone-only” internet user. Are you optimizing their application experience by making it straightforward to apply on mobile?
Create an application hub within your mobile campus app where prospective students can submit forms and paperwork, communicate with on-campus departments, send transcripts and test scores, check their application status, and view any pending items. Include information, such as admissions requirements, the steps to enroll, and tuition and fees, in one central location where it’s easy to find what you’re looking for. Making the application process straightforward on mobile pays off two-fold—prospective students see that you care about meeting them where they are and they progress effectively through the admissions pipeline.
3. Self-Service Financial Aid
Why make it harder than it needs to be to pay for college? The large majority of college students apply for some type of financial aid and that number is steadily increasing. Institutions who recognize that finances are a huge hurdle to enrolling in college are working towards making it more straightforward to apply for and manage funding.
Del Mar College recently revamped its mobile app, powered by Modo Campus™, to offer a fully self-service financial aid and enrollment module to support incoming and returning students. Within the module, students can request transcripts, check financial aid data, access tax forms, and more. To offer students the best experience, Del Mar worked across campus departments to streamline tools and software used for business and finance management to ensure every step of the application and enrollment process is available through the app. Students can now pay tuition bills through VikingGo in the app, helping them stay on top of logistics so they can focus on their education.
Modo Campus™ allows you to streamline campus processes with a robust integration network that pulls in data from third party sources to create a centralized hub of information. Navigating the financial aid system can be a huge stressor for many students and a barrier to enrolling in and completing college—help decrease these barriers so that learning experiences can shine.
4. Relevant Reminders
Today’s student is juggling many competing priorities. Sending relevant reminders about upcoming deadlines can help them stay on top of enrollment requirements and progress through college successfully.
Use Modo Communicate™ to send push notifications and in-app banners, ensuring students are hearing about deadlines and updates in real-time. With Modo’s robust communication platform and myPersona, you can tailor and target messaging, both in-app and through push notifications, based on any known user attributes. That means that if a student hasn’t submitted their transcript and the deadline is quickly approaching, you can automatically send them a reminder notification without bothering the students who have already completed the task. If you have a parent persona in your campus app, like UMass Amherst, send reminders to parents or guardians about upcoming tuition deadlines, or something more fun like Family Weekend.
Timely, relevant communications are crucial to getting students from acceptance to enrollment. Make sure students know what they need to do and when in order to successfully enroll.
5. Bring the Excitement
Being accepted into college is exciting—use your mobile app to foster that excitement between the time of acceptance and enrollment. Student retention efforts start before students even set foot on campus. Making accepted students feel like they’re already a part of the campus community will pay dividends later on.
Just as push notifications can help students stay on track with deadlines, they can also communicate exciting updates. Deploy rich media push notifications, SMS, and email in an integrated communications strategy that engages accepted students with information about campus initiatives, the opening of a new student center, or the first big game of the season.
Enhance events leading up to enrollment with Modo’s New Student Orientation Starter (NSO) Kit, which can easily be deployed for NSO, Preview Weekends, and other special events. Showing students you care about making them feel comfortable and confident on campus increases the sense of community on campus and aids retention.
6. Optimize the Enrollment Period
Just as you made the application process easier with mobile, now it’s time to turn to actual enrollment. With Steps 1-5, you’ve set yourself up for a successful enrollment period. Now, make it easy for students to register for their classes with mobile.
Students can browse the course catalog, with course schedules and descriptions, contained in the enrollment module of the campus app. Allow students to add and drop classes directly through the app, utilizing one of Modo’s many SIS integration partners. When the end of the add/drop period is approaching, send a push notification reminding students to finalize their course schedule.
Simplifying and streamlining the enrollment process for a diverse student body can be accomplished through a mobile campus app. Learn how you can better support your students and help hit enrollment targets with mobile by requesting demo today.BACK TO BLOG