Linda Haitani- VP Product Development, K-12 Solutions
If admission directors had a crystal ball that showed them the future, the one question they would most want answered is, “If admitted, will they come?” As the admission and application process has increasingly moved online, we’ve been collecting more and more data about our applicant families. Thinking proactively about that data—and using it wisely—gives us far more insight into our families and their priorities than we’ve ever had before. Below are two ways that you can use the data collected throughout the season to help you make the best, most informed, admission decisions.
#1 History repeats itself: Look for market segment patterns What are the characteristics about your applicants that most influence their choice to come to your school? The patterns will be different for each school, so start by looking at the characteristics you suspect are the strongest influencers. For example, are your applicants more likely to accept an offer if they: • Are from certain ZIP codes • Are from specific feeder schools • Attended your open house • Submitted their application early Understanding past behavior patterns allows you to make more educated guesses when considering this year’s applicants. For example, in Ravenna’s “Applicant to Decision Conversion Report” you can quickly view the matriculation percentage of your applicants by various segment type. This helps you determine how factors such as apply grade, event attendance, home ZIP code—or even your own customized segments you create using segment tags—affect an applicant’s likelihood to accept your offer of admission. In the example above, by segmenting on the “How did you hear about our school?” question, we can clearly see that admitted students are three times more likely to matriculate if they heard about you through a school affiliation, than if they were referred from a support organization. A conversion report such as this allows you to quickly view many different segment types so that you can determine which are the strongest matriculation influencers for your own school and applicant pool.
#2 Did they take advantage of the engagement opportunities you offered? Reaching out to your applicants and families and offering opportunities for them to engage with your school is critical to a successful admission season. But you can also learn a lot from how actively those families respond to your offers of engagement. For example, if you sent a nurture email, did the family actually open that email? If you invited them to small group event, did they attend? Ravenna captures all this engagement data in one place within an applicant’s profile, along with a place for you to document all your individual communications with the applicant’s family. Collecting and centralizing engagement data allows you to quickly gain insight into a particular applicant’s interest in your school as you make your final admission decisions. Pro-tip: You may want to consider applying a tag to applicants who show a particularly high, or particularly low level of engagement. You can then report on these tags as segments in the “Applicant to Decision Conversion Report” to help you understand just how significant of an indicator engagement really is at your school!