How to Use Research for Strategic Enrollment Management Planning


Staying on top of the research that supports enrollment is a vital piece of keeping your strategy sharp and specific. Carving out the time and resources to do this important work, while difficult to do, can only serve your higher level goals. However, having done good research is not quite enough. Now you have to apply it.

Naturally, how you will apply the research is very specific to your school, to the questions you asked, and the data you just gleaned. As a matter of example, let's take a look at two common research inputs: demographic trend projections and market segmentation analysis.

Using what you learned from your demographic research:

  1. Population projections, including age and gender breakdowns, can give you general ideas about shifts you might see in the next five years in your admission numbers.
  2. Ethnicity projections provide some guidance regarding certain types of diversity goals.
  3. Income projections can help you determine possible impacts on financial aid and affordability.

Using what you learned from your market segmenting analysis:

  1. The data that you gathered regarding the general geographic area of your school may reveal a very psycho-graphically diverse community, or not. This could impact your expectations regarding school make up.
  2. The segmentation of your current (or recent) community tells you a great deal about the relative diversity of your school. It also helps you understand the values that are important to your families.
  3. Juxtaposed against the market, you might learn that you possess a healthy market share, or not. This can impact where you focus your recruitment energy.

This information can be used for direct mail planning, neighborhood coffees/in home events, and transportation strategy, for example.

Clearly, this is not an exhaustive list, but a way to begin to think about the research you have invested in.