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Do Techniques Learned in College Work in the Real World?-Part Two

Part One considered one technique taught in college that has clearly earned its place among marketing communications strategies. The foot-in-the-door (FITD) technique has helped savvy undergraduate Student Search providers generate large inquiry pools for colleges and universities across America. FITD is just one aspect of what psychologists call the Consistency Principle. It’s people's tendency to change their attitudes to make them consistent with their actions. The Consistency Principle was once viewed as a theory. It has been verified by some 1,000 controlled scientific studies and is now considered a fact.

Why do humans change their feelings to make them consistent with their actions? Some psychologists feel it’s due to society's negative view of wishy-washy people. Eminent psychologist Elliot Aronson, PhD describes it as a way to maintain a stable, positive self-image. But whatever the reason, study after study shows that, under the right conditions, most people will not only take actions based on how they feel, they’ll feel emotions that are consistent with their actions.

Recruiting with Consistency

Consistency has a long and storied role in admissions marketing. It’s among the most effective academic lead generation methods. A major undergraduate Student Search company employs it to get high inquiry rates for hundreds of colleges. If it’s done right, prospective students who respond to Search initiatives using this approach are significantly more likely to apply.

The Allied Group recently deployed an undergraduate Yield Website to help admissions departments improve their yield of accepted students. That website used the Consistency Principle to increase students’ desire to enroll. In a controlled marketing test at one New England university, a considerable number of students visited the interactive site. They enrolled at a rate of 32.53%, a full five percentage points higher than the control group’s 27.5%.

Nontraditional Recruiting Application

Higher education programs for adults can make good use of the Consistency Principle to help them generate qualified adult inquiries. After all, the original studies that led to its acceptance used adult participants. Graduate, continuing education and professional development Search programs can adapt the techniques that work so well in undergraduate Search to the particular interests of adult learners. 

One program in particular demonstrates the viability of the Consistency Principle in recruiting nontraditional students. A few years ago, all-adult Franklin University’s website offered web visitors a customized electronic brochure in exchange for their contact information. Students who requested it had to take action to fill out the questionnaire and choose their preferred field of study.  Did it increase interest? Marketing officials at Franklin reported that this program improved their adult inquiries by 35% and helped them convert an astounding 48% of participating web visitors into applicants. A similar Stealth Programprovided by The Allied Group has converted traditional undergraduate “stealth students” into qualified inquiries at a number of institutions in the Northeast, with conversion rates as high as 63.9%.

Could this proven scientific principle increase your inquiries and applications?

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