*Institution names in this post are pseudonyms.
It’s no secret that law school funnels and enrollments have been in constant flux for the past couple of years, impacted by the pandemic and a shifting economic landscape, as well as other factors. To meet enrollment goals in this new market, law schools must focus more than ever on building awareness of the unique benefits they offer to students—on an individualized basis as much as possible.
Here are three strategies our Law School Enrollment Services partners are using to increase their reach, build awareness, and grow enrollment.
Strategy #1: Robust and exhaustive lead generation
A recent EAB survey revealed that 80% of graduate and adult learners research institutions, compare programs, and make decisions before engaging with an institution directly. While this “stealth shopping” phenomenon is not new, it has become far more pervasive in recent years, making it difficult for institutions to identify prospective students.
Sycamore University*, a large public university in the Mid-Atlantic, fell victim to this trend as they saw a decrease in their law school enrollments. For years, their enrollment team relied primarily on word-of-mouth marketing from their young alumni to source new leads for their law program. With limited staff and resources, they struggled to conduct recruitment campaigns at scale, leaving key sources of prospective students untapped.
I knew during early conversations with Sycamore University that implementing a more robust lead generation strategy that included new lead sources would have a big impact on their ability to recruit new law students. The issue wasn’t their program offerings or their ability to connect with prospects but getting in front of them in the first place.
With this strategy, Sycamore University was able to reach prospects in a wider geographic area and ensure that their law program was visible to a larger audience, leading to a 62% growth in enrollment and an 82% growth in out-of-state applications.
Strategy #2: Intent-based marketing campaigns
As Gen Z becomes a larger proportion of the graduate and adult learner market, it’s important that marketing campaigns adapt. Gen Z spends 4.1 hours on average daily using apps. They see 4,000 brands per day. If your law program is going to stand out, it needs to resonate with your audience.
Holly University* is a medium-sized private university in the Mid-Atlantic. Like many institutions, they used drip campaigns to reach prospects. Their communication with prospects was sent on a pre-determined schedule and standardized, rather than responsive to student behavior and motivations.
But as law school leaders know, no two prospects have the same timeline for enrollment, nor the same reasoning for applying and enrolling.
By focusing on meeting prospective law students where they are in their enrollment journey and customizing the messaging to speak to their intent and motivations, Holly University was able to build affinity with prospects and speak directly to their concerns. After using a responsive and personalized marketing campaign, they saw a 42% growth in enrollment and a three-point increase in their median LSAT score.
Strategy #3: Micro-surveys to gauge admitted students’ enrollment plans
Our recent survey of graduate enrollment leaders revealed that over 50% of respondents are feeling stressed due to unfilled staff positions and heavier workloads. More than ever, stretched resources can negatively impact institutions’ abilities to recruit and enroll students efficiently and effectively.
Basswood University*, a medium-sized, private university in the Northeast, had many goals for their law school, including wanting to increase enrollment overall while building a dynamic class from around the country and maintaining their median LSAT score. They also wanted to enhance and customize prospects’ enrollment experience, but weren’t sure how best to do so with limited staff and systems capacity.
One of the most effective strategies Basswood employed with EAB’s help may seem small, but it produced outsize results. They deployed a short survey to admitted student, which let them learn invaluable information, including admits’ likelihood of enrollment, barriers to making a decision, and how the institution could help.
Gaining insight into the mindsets of their admits allowed Basswood’s enrollment team to appropriately triage resources and tailor their outreach. For law school enrollment teams that are limited by size, time, and/or resources, being efficient and effective is crucial to their success. In just one year of using micro-surveys, among other strategies, Basswood increased enrollment by 11% and met their target median LSAT score, while bringing in a strong student body.
As interest in and pathways to legal education continue to change, it’s critical for schools to get ahead of market shifts. Building a unique outreach plan at every step in the funnel helps to solidify brand awareness and respond to student intent throughout their journey to enrollment—and ultimately, bring in your best class yet.
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