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.