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Adult Learners: Researched-based Strategies for Recruitment and Retention. Our mission is to increase the number of people who attend and finish college. More than 350,000 students coached: 10-15% impact on enrollment 15% impact on retention and graduation rates. Secret Shopper Research.

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Our mission is to increase the number of people who attend and finish college

More than 350,000 students coached:

10-15% impact on enrollment

15% impact on retention and graduation rates

our inquiry analysis secret shopper program assesses the prospective student experience
Our inquiry analysis (secret shopper) program assesses the “prospective student” experience

Responsiveness

Assess inquiries by web, email, and phone based on:

  • Time to respond
  • Method of response
  • Adequacy of response

Comprehensiveness

Assess whether information was sufficient to:

  • Evaluate the program
  • Determine if qualified
  • Understand application process
  • Understand personal / financial commitment
inquiry analysis methodology and scoring standards produce valuable information
Inquiry analysis methodology and scoring standards produce valuable information

Methodology

  • Outreach process: 3 contact attempts at 4-day intervals
  • Personas: “Typical” adult students
  • Inter-rater reliability: Benchmarking sessions, reviews of past analyses

Our Research Team has conducted 221 Inquiry Analyses

Quality Score Benchmarks

  • Quality measures: adequacy of information and customer service
  • Low range (1-4): poor quality or unsatisfactory customer service
  • Mid-range (5-7): problem areas (information, response time, or customer service)
  • High-range (8-10): typically “above and beyond,” only minor issues (e.g., slow response time)
all sectors struggle to provide adequate information regarding the level of commitment
All sectors struggle to provide adequate information regarding the level of commitment

Adequate information on personal / financial commitments

Inquiry analysis of 221 private sector and non-profit programs

All Private Sector Programs

All Non-Profit Private Programs

All Non-Profit Public Programs

online programs rated highest by prospective students
Online programs rated highest by“prospective students”

Comparative ratings of comprehensiveness and responsiveness

Inquiry analysis of 221 for-profit and non-profit programs

N = 129

N = 92

N = 129

N = 92

N=560

N=790

N=2044

N=480

N=485

private sector rated highest overall by prospective students
Private sector rated highest overall by “prospective students”

Overall ratings of comprehensiveness and responsiveness

Inquiry analysis of 221 for-profit and non-profit programs

N = 53

N = 105

N = 63

discussion questions reflect on the prospective student experience
Discussion Questions: Reflect on the Prospective Student Experience
  • How long does it take your institution to respond to prospective students?
  • What goals do you have in place regarding response time for phone calls, e-mails and replies via web forms?
  • What do you do to help students understand the personal and financial commitment required when making a decision to go back to school?
our research generates unique insights
Our research generates unique insights

Their situation

Their goals

Their obstacles

Their needs

  • Full-time professional seeking promotion
  • Parent returning to workforce
  • Adult returning for B.A. after 10 years
  • Recent college graduate striving for M.A.
  • Career achievement
  • Financial security
  • Better quality of life
  • Full-time work
  • Family / parenting obligations
  • Financial constraints
  • Clarity on long-term goals
  • Connection betweengoals and short-term actions
  • Assistance organizing commitments
  • Motivation & support
  • Connection to the university community
about the sample for the adult student research study
About the sample for the Adult Student Research Study
  • 57K prospective students; 45K enrolled students
  • Similar to nationaldistributions ingender and ethnicityfor age 25+
  • Institutions (or divisions)that focus on adults

Comparisons are to 2007-2008 IPEDS data (2008 Spring and Fall Enrollment Components)

Data Set

non starts committed to their education often choose a competitor
Non-starts committed to their education often choose a competitor
  • Top reason = a competitor
  • Below the median
    • Finances
    • Delay to subsequentterms

Differences between bands are significant at 99% level

n=18,088

What drives an inquiry to a competitor over your institution?

academics is not a leading cause of early exit
Academics is not a leading cause of early exit
  • The top 2 reasons
    • Nearly 30%, managing life outside of school
    • Finances a close second

99% confidence level between bands

n=30,413

How do you help students overcome these barriers?

referrals are the top reason driving inquiries
Referrals are the top reason driving inquiries

n=12,478

Differences between bands are significant at 99% level

The value of referrals

Low cost

High conversion

Realistic expectations

How do increase referrals?

net promoter is a way to measure and grow customer loyalty by asking one simple question
Net Promoter® is a way to measure and grow customer loyalty by asking one simple question

Net Promoter® rating—how likely are you to recommend to a friend or colleague?

Net Promoter®

Score

*Developed by Fred Reichheld, director emeritus at Bain & Company, and Satmetrix.

creating an action plan
Creating an action plan

Objective: develop a plan for implementing one actionable insight

  • Review change planning worksheet
  • Identify one insight or idea to develop
  • Break into groups and collaborate to design your change plan
  • Share plans and anticipated benefits as a group