For the busy adult learner juggling a family and/or career, every minute of the day matters and adding an additional task to the “to-do” list may seem daunting. If you’ve been in nontraditional higher education for any length of time, you know institutions often have mere minutes to grab a prospective adult student’s attention. What’s more, each aspect of the marketing and enrollment process is vital to increasing your chances of a conversion – from ensuring your website is appealing and easy to navigate, to making sure your academic and enrollment teams are knowledgeable and welcoming, to maximizing accessibility to your programs, every detail counts.
Once you’ve successfully uncovered the needs of your prospective students and they’ve made the decision to move forward, it is critical to ensure your enrollment process is streamlined and quick, yet informative and thorough. Busy adults are seeking institutions that truly understand their needs and concerns. Here are a few ways to appropriately support them through the enrollment process:
1. Make sure your application for admission is easy to access and available on your website in multiple places.
While it needs to capture all of the important information your institution requires, your application should be short and take less than ten minutes to complete. For any necessary supporting materials, your prospective students should be able to easily upload those documents to the application when they initially apply or later in the enrollment process. Consider using an online checklist that details each task in the enrollment process and includes links to complete necessary steps such as financial aid, course registration, etc. Ensure your applicants receive realistic deadlines and try to keep your list of steps short – no more than five or six. Remember, adult students are busy with multiple responsibilities at home and work and the easier and more simplified your enrollment process is, the higher the chances are of your leads converting to applicants.
2. Ensure you focus on academic advising and course registration, too.
Both are important steps of the enrollment process and help set the tone about the type of experience your students will have at your institution. Communications from advising staff should happen quickly and proactively once an applicant is admitted. Make it easy for prospective students to meet with their advisor – utilize tools such as video conferencing applications or meeting scheduling software. Streamline your course registration process – if students can’t complete it in a couple of clicks, consider having your advising staff handle all of the registration within your system.
3. Before classes begin, ensure your students know exactly what to expect and how to prepare.
Students should have a clear understanding of where to locate course syllabi, how to order textbooks, how to navigate your learning management system, and who to contact for assistance. Show your students where to order textbooks and make sure they order and receive their books before class begins. We recommend including a short, interactive tutorial or virtual meeting that allows your new students to practice accessing your learning management system as well as resources on your website.
4. Instill confidence.
Remember, your new nontraditional students have likely overcome challenges and/or obstacles to get to this point. A student who lacks confidence may look for any reason to discontinue the journey toward a degree, including not understanding a part of your enrollment process or feeling unprepared for the first day of class. If any part of your process leaves a prospective student with more questions than answers, your chances of capturing and retaining that enrollment can diminish greatly.
If you’re in need of a partner who can help ensure your institution’s enrollment process is updated, streamlined, and meeting the expectations of today’s adult learner, we’d love to connect. In the meantime, you can check out Rivetica’s full suite of marketing, admissions, and academic solutions.