Post-Pandemic Enrollment Strategy

White Paper

Post-Pandemic Enrollment Strategy

Actionable lessons and tools for college and university enrollment teams

The pandemic confronted enrollment leaders with the most turbulent and trying recruitment cycles in recent memory. However, this time period also offers valuable insights for colleges and universities moving forward. The challenging circumstances of the pandemic served as an inadvertent stress test for enrollment practices, shedding new light on certain vulnerabilities and the tools needed to address them.

This research shares lessons and resources to help enrollment leaders navigate the “new normal,” including recommendations for how to best engage students virtually, guidance on operationalizing test-optional admissions, and strategies for communicating about aid and affordability.

Download the full white paper PDF or explore our major findings below.

Best practices for engaging Gen Z virtually

The pivot to virtual-first recruitment put digital platforms and technologies at the center of recruitment strategy. However, the pandemic showed that virtual interactions must meet students’ high expectations for authenticity and personalization to capture and hold their attention. During the transition to a hybrid recruitment environment, institutions will need to ensure that their digital recruitment strategies engage students accordingly.

Challenges of engaging students in a virtual setting

High expectation of personalization
Zoom fatigue
Decreased parent involvement
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It’s been easier for students to disengage with us in a virtual world. If students take the time to travel to campus for a program, they’re committed, and they’re probably committed to stay the whole time. But that’s not the case in a virtual setting.

-Director of Admissions, Large Public University in the East

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Read the white paper to for guidance on how to engage Gen Z on their own terms, tactics for maximizing the impact of your virtual tour, and strategies for hosting events in a hybrid virtual and in-person recruitment environment.

Lessons on operationalizing test-optional admissions

The 2020 and 2021 cycles saw a dramatic, rapid shift toward test-optional admissions among colleges across the country. These highly unusual circumstances offer new insight into approaches to making admissions decisions and merit aid awards without a test score.

Download the white paper to learn about the range of strategies that schools used in the 2021 cycle to determine admissibility and aid awards without a test score and key factors to consider when assessing the success of your current testing policy, including scalability, equity concerns, and communication strategy.

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more institutions adopted test-optional policies in 2020 than in the previous four years combined

Communicating about aid and affordability

The unique circumstances of the pandemic exacerbated challenges associated with college affordability. Even though there appears to be no silver bullet in addressing affordability concerns, building a comprehensive communications strategy can help colleges better reach their enrollment goals and maximize access among underrepresented student groups.

Has the COVID-19 pandemic increased your concerns about college costs?

EAB 2021 Student Application Survey

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    of students responded "yes"
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    White

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    $60,000 or less

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    $60,001 - $120,000

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    $60,001 - $120,000

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Access the white paper for strategies to support FAFSA filing, actionable recommendations for demystifying communications about price, guidance on how to articulate value throughout your recruitment communications, and a tool to help you audit your financial aid communications.

How to appeal to price-sensitive families

Explore nine steps to communicate the value proposition of your college to students and families amid growing price sensitivity.

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