Webinar – Building Student Profiles: 3 Steps to Meeting The Demands Of Today’s Students

I’ve been presenting on the topic of student profiles at several education industry events, including the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) 2010 Annual Conference, as well as the New York Association of Proprietary Colleges (APC) Annual Conference. The audiences have shown quite a bit of interest in the topic, as has the trade press. It occurred to me that a number of our blog readers may be interested in the topic, therefore, I’m hosting a webinar next week.

The purpose of the webinar is to help schools embrace the power of student profiles in order to drive increased recruitment and retention. “The Increasing Power of the Student Consumer: Building Student Profiles to Meet The Demands Of Today’s Students” will be held on Thursday, September 23, 2010 from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Colleges are continually evaluating efforts to: recruit the types of students who will be most successful in a program, quickly launch new programs, and tailor offerings and delivery modes. How can colleges successfully meet these challenges in order to attract and retain students in an increasingly consumer-driven market?

I’ll share three critical ways that colleges can best leverage information to meet the demands of today’s students:

1) Deliver education where and when students want it.
2) Monitor student inflection points.
3) Report on student activity from prospect to placement in order to support decisions.

Attendees will gain insight into the process of not only building student profiles, but also effectively using them. Profiles help schools better understand students so you can target the right students for the right programs, as well as support them throughout the education process, making sure that someone who is likely to succeed actually does.

To register for the free event, click here. Feel free to download the corresponding whitepaper and eBook as well.

Student Profiles: Part I

Student profiles continue to come up in my daily conversations with college administrators. There seems to be such a huge opportunity here – it is just a matter of a school wrapping its arms around the data they have and embracing the concept of student profiles as a powerful tool to better understand and support their students.

Student profiles enable your college to better determine the programs, delivery models and educational structure that will attract and retain students. Today, I’d like to address student profiles from a college prospecting and marketing perspective.

Colleges and universities are in a sea of noise – in order to increase student enrollment, they need to find a way to stand out in the crowd, and also make sure they are targeting
the right students for the right programs.

Traditionally, colleges and universities address student recruitment by increasing marketing efforts – utilizing additional marketing channels, allocating additional budget for traditional and social media, and more. However, additional outreach doesn’t always equate to more leads. Rather, colleges need to know more about the students they are targeting.

When building successful student profiles, you should look at the available demographic, behavioristic/psychographic, and educational information on a student prospect. You then need to assign a risk factor to each characteristic. For example, a prospect with established career goals would most likely pose a “low” risk, yet that same prospect could be transitional and not stay in one place for long periods of time, posing a “high” risk. You’ll want to establish an average overall risk level based on a comprehensive list of his or her characteristics.

Next, you should assign a complete profile to a student prospect and determine whether to actively pursue that person as a prospective student, and if so, develop action plans as necessary. For example, if a prospect has an overall risk factor rating of “high” due to the fact that he or she is a single parent who is working part time, your action plan can address child care.

Student profiles help colleges better target students who will likely succeed in your programs. But they serve another purpose beyond getting students in the door. Student profiles can drive retention too, so you can make sure that someone who is likely to succeed actually does. I plan to talk about student profiles from a retention perspective in my next blog…so stay tuned.

In the meantime, feel free to check out my eBook, “How to Make Informed Decisions Based on Successful Student Profiles: Seven Steps to Increase Recruitment and Retention.”

I will also be hosting a webinar to discuss Student Profiles in depth on September 23rd. If you are interested, you can click here to register.

Career College Technology Discussions at PAPSA

Last week, I spent a few days in Pennsylvania and have returned to Denver energized for things to come. Along the way, I was stuck behind a number of major traffic accidents and was re-routed extensively. It gave me an opportunity to see much of the PA country side and was worth the detour.

A colleague and I had a great meeting with a business college in the region. They have significant growth plans and are looking to utilize a student management system to increase operational efficiencies. We all look forward to further discussions with them.

I was honored to be invited to speak at the Pennsylvania Association of Private School Administrators Annual Conference.  I welcomed the opportunity to discuss the power of Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions to the attendees. SaaS solutions are flexible, low maintenance and can help schools focus on recruitment, retention and placement, rather than IT. It was great to see schools embrace the concept of SaaS.

In addition, I was excited about Mike Artim’s presentation, and he didn’t disappoint. Mike is the Executive Director of Cambria-Rowe Business College. Cambria-Rowe has been talking with employers in the region to better understand the skills and competencies they are looking for to fill positions. The school is evolving its program curriculum to adapt to the changing needs of the employers. Mike also discussed how Cambria- Rowe is leveraging technology in the classroom through the use of digital content, iPads and other vehicles.

Thanks to the efforts of the group at PAPSA for an enlightening career college conference, I look forward to participating next year.

I’m always looking for feedback, how is your school leveraging technology to create efficiencies?

TopSchool Raises $8 Million in Growth Capital Series C Funding

By now, you may have heard the good news here at TopSchool. We’ve raised an additional $8 Million in Series C funding. The funding was led by MK Capital, and Karen Buckner, partner and Chief Operating Officer at MK Capital, will be joining our board.

This funding will allow us to continue to advance our products and infrastructure for increased performance of the TopSchool SaaS Student Lifecycle Management system. We also will use the funds to invest in increased account management support.

We are poised for growth and look forward to supporting the growth of our college and university customers.  We recognize a need for an alternative to traditional college student information systems, and our unmatched capabilities are meeting and exceeding this demand in the market.  The Series C funding will be instrumental in enabling us to better serve our clients and embrace this market opportunity.

Colleges can now implement Independent Study with TopSchool System

We’ve been working hard here at TopSchool and are excited about the latest release of our Student Lifecycle Management (SLM) system. We have quite a bit of new functionality included, but I want to highlight one area that I think student-centric institutions will truly appreciate.

INDEPENDENT STUDY AND ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT:
Our SLM system goes beyond the capabilities of traditional college student information systems, enabling flexible delivery methods. Along these lines, we’ve just released functionality to support Independent Study. This allows student-centric institutions to easily set up course sections to support self-paced education in combination with standard terms, non-standard terms or non-term structures.
When a student is registered for an independent study course section, the system will calculate an expected completion date for the student using predefined rules and calendars set up by the institution. Colleges may also decide to allow individual student extensions, enabling schools to directly address students on a unique one-to-one basis. Institutions with self paced distance learning programs or open entry/open exit courses will be able to manage student registrations based upon completion of course objectives and learning outcomes rather than fixed course schedule dates.

We hope this new feature allows our customers to continue to meet and exceed student expectations. What do you think?