Elements of Research to Support Strategic Enrollment Management


In my conversations with enrollment managers, we typically agree that robust research should be a priority. Then, I often hear some version of the following:

"I know I should be doing research but I'm unsure what research to do." "I know what research I want to do, but I don't have time." "I know what research I want to do, but I don't know how." "I've done some research, but I don't know how to use it."

I'll be unpacking these questions over the next few months.

First up: What research should I be doing? This is a big question and is very dependent on your research questions and goals. As a starting point, though, consider the following.

1)   Demographic trending research to allow you to predict who is coming in the next 5 years or so.

2)   Market segmentation analysis of the current student body as well as the areas that your school serves or would like to serve. This data is often not readily available, but ideally, you get your hands on it.

3)   Survey research of current parents, families who were admitted but didn’t enroll, and families who left your school (attrition).

4)   Research regarding public perception of your school.

5)   Competitor analysis to understand the market your school is part of and to identify market opportunities.

That's a lot of research, I know. How is a harried enrollment manager to find time to do all of this important work? That's coming in the next post in the series. I'd love to hear your questions or comments about this topic.

(This is part of a longer piece I wrote for iansymmonds.com. I'll be using it as a jumping off point for this series)