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Is There an Easy, Cost-Effective Way to Significantly Increase Undergraduate Yield?

Now that May 1st has come and gone, admissions officers across America are pausing to catch their breath. After what may have been an exhausting yield campaign, admissions officers might well wonder if there’s an easier, more effective way to improve their yield programs and enrollment rates. Recent research demonstrates that there is, and its ROI can be substantial.

A few years ago The Allied Group, a marketing communications company, won a national award for its Yield Program. It helped the University of Hartford set an institution record for deposits. The following year another New England university tailored Allied’s program to its needs and got an 11% deposit increase. In 2010 their Director of Admissions decided to add Allied’s Yield Website to further boost the university’s yield rate. This wise admissions marketer set up a controlled test to measure the exact impact Allied’s enrollment initiative and its print and web components had on enrollments. It was important to do this, because Allied’s Yield Program may be unique in college admissions.

This recruiting procedure includes sending a customized publication to admitted students. That publication highlights information of greatest interest to the individual and invites him or her to visit a yield website to register for a contest. The yield website is far from elaborate – while it can be customized to the interests of each student, it merely asks two ordinary survey questions.  But social psychology research shows that asking these questions at this point in the cycle can have a powerful impact on students, further increasing their interest in enrolling.

As the final results demonstrated, social psychology research accurately predicted the results. The contest sponsored by the admissions office drove a full 20% of admitted students to the website. That was crucial to the program’s success, as shown by the final numbers:

• Allied Yield Website deposit rate:                     38.6%
• Allied Yield Website enrollment rate:                32.5%
• Allied Yield Program overall enrollment rate      28.9%
• Control Group enrollment rate                          27.5%

Thus, this well-conceived yield program actually helped the university’s admissions office enroll 44 more students in 2010 than they would without it. The Director of Admissions’ method for driving students to the website was a key – of the 44 additional students the university enrolled with the Allied program, 35 came from the Yield Website. The ROI was excellent, exceeding $25 in first-year tuition for every $1 spent.

If you have any questions about this highly cost-effective marketing communications program, please feel free to email me or call me at (401) 946-6100

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