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Designing Communication Plans for Increased Enrollment. Brent Rudin Dean of Enrollment Management Cornerstone University Grand Rapids, Michigan. Quick Overview of Cornerstone. Private, religious institution Enrollment Total enrollment – 2,600 Traditional undergraduate – 1,250

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Designing communication plans for increased enrollment l.jpg

Designing Communication Plans for Increased Enrollment

Brent RudinDean of Enrollment ManagementCornerstone UniversityGrand Rapids, Michigan


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Quick Overview of Cornerstone

  • Private, religious institution

  • Enrollment

    • Total enrollment – 2,600

    • Traditional undergraduate – 1,250

  • Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan


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How We Use Connect

  • Connect

  • VIP pages

  • Telecenter

  • Apply

    For all Prospect AND Applicant tracking and communication (except financial aid and class registration)


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Our Enrollment Challenges

  • Fall 2006 – 2nd highest freshman class

  • Fall 2007 – clearly not the 2nd highest class

  • Tuition dependent

  • Must at a minimum maintain enrollment


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Our Communication Challenges

  • Datatel transition, training and implementation

  • Lack of flexibility in reporting

  • Inability to engage our audience

  • Difficulty to communicate beyond seniors


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Higher Education Communication Challenges

  • Is your Web site ever really “good enough?”

  • Secret shoppers

  • Stealth applicants

  • Static electronic communication

  • Failure to act on known information



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Communication Plans

  • What do you want to say?

  • How do you want to say it?

  • To what audience(s)?

  • At what point in time?

  • To accomplish what goal/response?


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What is an Ideal Communication Plan?

  • It’s an overview – may not have all details for all situations

  • Proactive – not reactive

  • Engaging – not static

  • Purposeful – not pointless


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Lots of Plans!

  • Suspects

  • Prospects

  • Applied

  • Accepted

  • Deposited

  • Transfers

  • Parents


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Case Study

  • Problem:

    • Why are students starting, but not finishing application?

  • Solution:

    • Develop communication plan to address this

    • Get more completed apps…

    • In a shorter timeframe…

    • Or find out why not


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Case Study

  • Who?

    • Those who started but not completed app

  • When?

    • Series of communication methods

    • Weekly reminders via email to complete

    • Surveys to explain why not

    • Multiple opportunities to complete

    • Incorporate phone call from counselor


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Build Your Communication Plan Around…

  • “Regular” communication

    • Prospects

    • Applicants

  • Campus visits

  • VIP Page visits

  • Telecenter calls

  • Academic messages


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Communication Plans Include…

  • Emails

  • Letters

  • Phone calls

  • Surveys

  • Events

  • Publications

  • Combinations of each


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To What Audience(s)?

  • Your filters are so important

    • Who is receiving this?

    • Who is NOT receiving this?

  • Spent a lot of time learning how to master the skill of filter-writing


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Evaluating Results

  • Review the results of emails

    • Who opened?

    • Who responded?

  • Hyperlinks

    • What are being followed?

    • Not too many links

  • Survey results

    • Respond accordingly

    • May trigger more communication


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Success Stories

  • Much better communication with students

  • More informed counselors

  • More predictable enrollment…?

  • Provide leadership more accurate information


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Questions?

Brent Rudin

Dean of Enrollment Management

Cornerstone University

[email protected]

616-222-1426


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