Yield—the elephant in the room (a student’s perspective)

The first day of summer has finally arrived, and most of us will be taking a deep breath and looking forward to vacation – it’s time to leave it all behind and recharge the batteries.

For many recruiters and marketers in higher ed, the summer season
triggers an entirely different set of emotions – one of anxiety and stress. There is an elephant in the room and its name is yield management.

Yield can be a huge problem because it represents the unknown. Unexpected yield numbers can throw a wrench into even the most
impeccable strategic plans. Until the actual enrolment numbers show up in September, universities and colleges are for the most part flying blind. It’s an uneasy feeling for marketers and recruiters alike, and is akin to the waiting period students face after exams. They work hard all year and then they wait patiently to see the results of their labour.

The best way to increase yield is to take control of the situation. Universities who keep their students close through frequent, informative communications and summer events tend to have higher yield numbers. It keeps the brand fresh in the minds of prospects, gives them a taste of the exciting community they will be a part of, and eases the transition from high school to university life. Showing prospects that you actually care about them, and want them to come to your university, can make all the difference.

I am living proof that reaching out to prospects during the summer can make a difference. As a student who applied and was accepted to three universities only a couple of years ago I distinctly remember that all of a sudden, once I was accepted, the silence was deafening. It was a strange feeling as this was such an important decision for me. I was the first of my family to be fortunate enough to attend university, and as the summer went on, I started to have second thoughts. There was no personal communication from these institutions. It would have been so reassuring to get updates and emails telling me what to expect – just to keep me “in the loop”.

Eventually one of the universities reached out to me. It was something as simple as a warm telephone call to ask me how my summer was and inform me about upcoming frosh events. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it was to me. I really liked all the universities I had applied to but only one had taken the time to treat me like a person. After that, the decision was obvious.

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