Hidden Gems Blog by Paul T. Montgomery

Hidden Gems: The Diamond SIS Blog

Hidden Gems is the blog page for all things Diamond. We cover topics relevant to Higher Education, Career and Proprietary Schools.

Increase Enrollment by Reducing Fear

Increase Enrollment by Reducing Fear

Increasing enrollment requires you to overcome objections, and many potential students are “just looking” or “aren’t ready” to move forward with a decision.

One of the most popular reasons they aren’t ready to commit to you:  Fear of going back to school.

The average age of a career college student is 27.  And over 30 per cent are over the age of 35.  This means that they’ve been away from formal schooling for a LONG TIME!

So, knowing this, be proactive!  As part of your recruiting process, right on your website, address how your school will help the returning student succeed.

By greatly alleviating this fear, you stand out from competing schools, and can accelerate the recruiting process.

Specifically: What you can do to be different:

  1. Promote your student support services, or, if you don’t have a strong student support services program, create one!
  2. The better you support your students:
  3. The Higher your Retention rate
  4. You'll increase student-student referrals
  5. Student engagement increases which often leads to instructor satisfaction and lower turnover/burnout.

Whether students have just graduated from high school, or are returning to school after being in the workforce, Student Success Programs help them learn how to be a successful student, learn how and where to access the resources they need to be successful, and provide fail-safes to keep them from feeling isolated, or falling behind.

Elements of Student Success Programs:

  1. Study Skills, Note-Taking, Test-Taking & Time-management Training:
    1. Many students – young and old may never have mastered good study skills.  Instruction into how to study and how to optimize their time is paramount to their success.  Their motivation is quite different now, and whatever tools and help you provide now will greatly affect their ability to succeed
  2. Identification of their Learning styles:
    1. Help students identify their learning styles
    2. Based on these learning styles and the study skills, help them develop critical thinking skills to encourage their success
  3. School & Campus Resources:
    1.  Clearly provide and demonstrate the range of resources available at your campus or on-line. 
    2.  From counselors and coaches, to books, and on-line training, and anything else.
    3.  Encourage instructors to actively demonstrate use of these resources in their courses.
  4. Computer Skills Training
    1.  Often a basic course in the use of computers and MS-Office will greatly improve a students’ ability to succeed
    2.  Test incoming students in critical computer skills and, if appropriate, provide instruction that will help them maximize both their school experience and their career.
  5. Academic Coaching: 
    1. Provide each student with an official Academic Coach to help them learn how to “do college.”  Of course, this person may be the assigned counselor, the core issue is to make this a pro-active role with regular check-ins and interaction with each student.
  6. Job Description Reviews
    1.  Review as part of the early student experience, what the requirements for their various careers.
    2.  Review basic Requirements for post-graduation jobs
       Review Requirements for jobs 3-5 years after graduation and how they might shorten that timeline – if appropriate to their course of study.
       Help them plan for the correct experiences and classes, based on their post-graduation goals
  7. Retention program: 
    1. Provide students with early alerts on grades, attendance, etc.
    2. Use On-line alerts and private emails or SMS to connect with students in a timely manner
    3. Include regular Positive feedback for each student.  

And Most Important of All:

Whatever Services and Support that you offer, be sure to communicate this up front to your prospective students.  You’ll reduce one of the most common fears about going back to school, and reduce the barriers to Registration.