Managing Your Recruitment Database

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April Clark
CAS

Approximately twenty percent of the population changes residence in any given year. Further, only 4-5% of these people take the time to notify the US Postal Service of the move. These two facts can have a huge impact on maintaining accurate databases and keeping open your communication channels with prospective students. 

There are few things more discouraging for college and university marketing or admission divisions than stacks of undeliverable mail. At least with returned mail, one has an idea of the extent of the problem. Consider that significant amounts of mail are never received by the intended party, but not returned as undeliverable. Similar challenges can occur with telephone databases. It is not unusual for college and university databases to have incorrect telephone numbers on file for as much as twenty percent of the population. 

These problems can result in declines in admission applications, drops in recruitment yield and declines in new student enrolments. Databases must be updated and telephone numbers should be verified on a regular basis. 

There are a variety of technologies available to update and cleanse your databases on a regular basis: 

You can update your institutional database using USPS “move” files. It compares your names and addresses to the changes people give the post office when they move. 

You can compare your records to magazine subscriber lists. A certain number of people will tell magazines where they move to, when they won’t tell the USPS. Go figure! 

You can compare your files to the Social Security Administration deceased database to identify people who have passed away. 

You can compare your records to a complete list of all valid addresses to identify those that are incorrect. 

You can add physical addresses to rural route addresses as 911 systems expand and require physical addresses. 

You can eliminate duplicates by name and/or address. 

The cost to generate inquiries continues to rise and the cost for encouraging admission applicants is even higher. It is important to take advantage of available technology to maximize the yield on these investments.   

Recall that reactivating even ten inquiries lost to a change in address or telephone number is likely to result in 10 applications for admission and the enrollment of an additional three students.


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