Illuminating the Predictive Path
Five years ago, Taylor University found itself in a position familiar to many liberal arts institutions, needing to increase the size of its applicant pool to meet its enrollment objectives. Outside promotional recruiting efforts at college fairs and high schools couldn’t generate enough volume, and were costly in terms of both time commitment and dollars. Purchasing larger and more diverse lists of prospective students seemed to offer a simple solution in theory. In practice, it required additional resources dedicated to engaging prospects, with diminishing returns.
Taylor encountered several challenges typical of an expanded pool. The need for a robust data system to capture engagement throughout the funnel was needed. Mailing costs increased substantially to reach a broader audience. Conversion rates the top of the enrollment funnel plummeted. Furthermore, the existing enrollment management process was functionally reactive in nature, waiting on activity within the funnel. A new strategic model would be necessary to hit increasingly difficult to reach organizational goals.
In 2017 Taylor implemented rAdmit, a predictive modeling tool on the inSuite Educate platform from Inroads Analytics. It has enabled the enrollment team to strategically commit resources towards those prospects with the best predicted potential to fulfill the university’s target objectives. Admissions staff were refocused internally to act directly on the daily analytics reports.
Recruiting has produced both the largest and 4th largest incoming classes in the entire 170-year history of the university.
The number of conversations with prospective students has grown six-fold, while effectively operating with three fewer full-time employees.
Key conversion rates through the funnel are now able to be managed intentionally and have been stabilized, with a 30% increase in applications.
Optimized targeting based on the predictive models has significantly impacted mailing costs, which have been reallocated to other value-add activities.
The actionable insights from rAdmit have empowered us to transform our team into a professional selling unit. We can now proactively engage ideal prospects at all stages of the enrollment funnel, and selectively encourage them to move forward.
The team at Taylor continues to take advantage of the ability to perform their own ongoing daily predictive analysis. They are currently employing the new rRetain product with the goal of bringing first year retention back up to its vaunted 90% rate.