As institutions reel from the impact of COVID-19, enrollment leaders face renewed pressure to recruit new and different audiences to offset expected declines in traditional undergraduate enrollment. Some institutions have begun to focus on recruiting adult degree completers, or students 25 and up with some college credit but no bachelor’s degree.
But degree completers’ journeys to reenrollment are long and meandering—adding to a lengthy list of reasons why this audience is difficult to recruit, ranging from a lack of test taker lists to students’ own competing priorities.
Explore this infographic to learn more about the stages of adult degree completers’ journey to reenrollment. Discover their motivations, insights from EAB’s survey of 1,000+ prospective degree completers, and tactics enrollment leaders can use to recruit this important student group each step of the way.
“I want a higher-paying job.”
of adult degree completers say they want to complete their degree to “create better opportunities for myself.”
Showcase students with similar experiences in marketing materials to help prospective degree completers envision themselves enrolled—and succeeding. Highlight how earning a four-year degree led to an alum’s promotion or improved their quality of life.
“I want to finish my bachelor’s degree.”
of adult degree completers who want to complete their degree say they have “a lot to figure out” before they can go back to school, most notably cost to complete.
Proactively address students’ concerns about time to completion and cost in marketing materials. Consolidate key information about tuition, fees, and time commitment in a program FAQ to ensure students can find the answers they need quickly.
“I actually want to go back to school.”
of students haven’t done any research about going back to school despite their interest and intention to complete their degree.
A major professional or personal life event often catalyzes prospective degree completers to begin researching institutions and programs actively.
Ensure your marketing materials, including your website, include clear calls to action that enable students to learn more about your programs easily. Deploy nurture content to keep your institution top of mind for students even as they conduct passive research.
“I’m ready now.”
of adult degree completers rely on search engines to gather information about going back to school.
Develop a robust paid search strategy to reach students researching programs via search engine. Optimize your program pages for search engines to ensure students come across your institution when researching.
“I’ve chosen institutions or programs that will meet my needs.”
of adult degree completers say they want a “degree program designed for someone in my situation (with fitting flexibility, format, and content).”
Audit program admissions requirements to eliminate unnecessary barriers to enrollment, such as additional essays or letters of reference. Emphasize your program’s flexibility, including online options or multiple start dates, to reiterate your program is designed with student needs in mind.
“I’m doing it!”
of adult degree completers identify “being able to afford completing my degree” as the biggest barrier to enrollment. Plus, nearly half of students intend to use grants and scholarships to pay for at least part of their degree.
To boost admit to enrollment conversion rates, benchmark program cost against local and regional competitors. Consider peer program cost when pricing programs for adult degree completers and ensure students can find information about program cost on your website easily.
EAB and The Center for Generational Kinetics (CGK) conducted video interviews with 30 US adults with some college credit who indicated they were open to continuing their post-secondary education at a four-year institution. To supplement and quantify the insights from these interviews, EAB and CGK then surveyed 1,010 US adults.