Where Should We Be Now?

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John W. Dysart
The Dysart Group, Inc.

The beginning of April is upon us and there are a few benchmarks that can be reviewed by top administrators at private colleges and universities. The following do not apply to institutions that can consistently rely on the national reply date to secure their class of new students.?

  • At least 70 percent of applications for admission should either be accepted or rejected at this point.

Percentages lower than the recommended amount might be a sigh of poor admission counselor follow-up with admission applicants. Low folder completion rates can also be a sign of a weak applicant pool.?

  • At least ten percent of inquiries should have applied for admission by now.

Ten percent conversion from inquiry to application is about average for private schools. Conversion rates lower than ten percent might be an indication that the college plan for encouraging prospective students to apply for admission is adequate. ?

  • At least 40 percent of your returning students should have applied for financial aid by now and been packaged.

Encouraging returning students to apply for financial aid and packaging them early in the cycle is critical to support retention. You do not want your currently enrolled students going home for the summer break without knowing how they are going to afford to come back for the Fall term.?

  • At least 40-45 percent of your admission applicants should have visited the campus by now.

Campus visits are so important in converting applicants into enrolled students. You would generally expect approximately half of the admission applicants to have visited the campus by the end of the cycle. Lower visit rates may be an indication that the yield from applicant to enrolment may decline.?

Top college and university administrators should be reviewing weekly admission and financial aid reports throughout the cycle. Don?t be afraid to discuss benchmarks with your admission directors and Financial Aid Directors. Ask questions. Make a point of having the your directors explain the components on the weekly reports.?

Admission and financial aid are data-driven enterprises. Consistent review of reports and benchmark comparisons can reduce the possibility of recruitment and expenditure surprises.

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