Why Colleges Rely on Demonstrated Interest
Demonstrated interest, or the level of consideration an applicant is giving a school, is a huge factor in higher ed admission decisions. The Wall Street Journal recently examined the growing weight it has on the admissions process over the past decade. Most people outside of the enrollment management field don’t fully understand that college admissions and recruiting is no different than any other sales funnel.
At the top of the funnel, the first touch point is about establishing some level of interest in your brand. But when it comes to determining which potential customers, or in this case candidates, will decide to buy, there are many factors to consider. Past behaviors and trends, how much interest or level of engagement they have demonstrated, and their willingness to act are all factors that help determine the highest probability buyers.
It’s the same thing in the admissions business. Should a student be admitted, how likely is he or she to deposit or enroll? This can be hard to predict. Typically students who have demonstrated the most interest throughout the entire process are more likely to deposit and enroll at your college.
Measuring Demonstrated Interest
Before digital media, colleges had a slew of factors they could use to measure a candidate’s interest level. For example, did a student:
- Visit campus or attend an open house?
- Schedule an interview (whether by phone or in person)?
- Attend an off-campus information session?
- Talk with admissions?
- Attend a summer program?
- Stop by a booth at a fair?
- Or speak with a current student?
With the transition to digital communication channels such as email and web advertising, there are many new ways that students can interact “virtually” and raise their hand as an interested candidate. Students open emails and click on links, they click on paid search content, they browse college website, text or chat via a portal with admissions reps.
One of the newest ways is by engaging on a relatively new channel – a mobile app. While apps have taken over in other areas of lives, they are just starting to make a showing in the admissions world. There’s a lot of advantages. For example, on a mobile app a student can “share their digital profile” instead of filling out a form every time they want information. They can also digest all types of relevant content from watching video, to sharing social posts, and even ‘linking’ their college favorite.
Colleges can track how often and for how long they interact with the various forms of digital content. Digital interactions are an effective way to track engagement and measure demonstrated interest in addition to tradition methods.
Why Does it Matter to College Bound Students?
According to the National Association of College Admission Counseling 37% of schools surveyed said demonstrated interest is of moderate importance in their decision-making process—on par with teacher recommendations, class rank and extracurricular activities. It’s important for students to know that beyond academic and personal accomplishments, their engagement with a preferred school counts and how they can improve their score. According to the WSJ article, “Admissions officers say information on demonstrated interest is generally used to decide on borderline candidates. Some schools explain on their websites or during information sessions that demonstrated interest is considered part of the admissions process.”
A high engagement score is simply the sum total of the various channels and touch points in which they interact with a college. The more they interact, the better their engagement score. While some say this practice is creepy, it’s the reality of how demonstrated interest is measured in the digital age.
A New Way to Grow Demonstrated Interest
College Interactive (Ci) provides a unique app-based experience for students to learn about and navigate the entire college planning and application process. It allows colleges to attract, access, and engage with new candidates on their preferred channel – mobile devices. With a fully integrated engagement scoring system, colleges can effectively target and convert those students who are engaging the most.
Ci provides colleges and universities with unprecedented ability to communicate with their target audiences via a mobile app – early and often. Meet students via the app using mobile search, intent based marketing and develop additional candidate insight with shared profiles and tracked interactions to gauge interest and fit. Deliver personal communications and important information via the app to students that you would like to apply and enroll. It’s never been easier to connect with qualified candidates that demonstrate interest in your college.
Learn how College Interactive’s mobile app-based platform is changing the game with next generation college search and student recruitment tools.