Student Recruitment… 10 email inquiry responses in November

Student Recruitment Emails… Winding Down in November as a Deadline Shifts

Since my last report on email inquiry responses received since June in our secret shopping venture, the frequency has started to decline. Only three of our six schools sent a total of 10 November emails. Six of these came from the volume leader, our “private college in upstate NY.” Three others came from the “private university in Massachusetts.” 
The decrease continued in December, with only 8 emails that month. So far in 2013 there has been one email.
To keep the length of this update in hand, we’ll just review the November responses here. December email will follow soon.
Let’s get started on November:
  • November 2: The “private university in Rhode Island” makes one appearance this month with an email extending the Early Action application deadline until November 9 as Hurricane Sandy has likely made it “impossible” for many people to meet the regular deadline. As with most email from here, neither my name nor the name of the person sending the email is used.
  • November 3: A “day in the life of…” video (nicely done in less than 2 minutes) highlighting the success of a 2006 alumnus is the main feature of an email from our “private university in Massachusetts.” A quick click of a cursor to start a new paragraph would make a 10-line text block under the video much easier to read.
  • November 9: The “private college in upstate NY” continues to promote the advantages of the “Fast-Forward Application,” including automatic scholarship consideration if I apply by November 15. To help, the admissions director notes that since I’m an “extremely busy” and talented student, she’s already started the application for me.
  • November 13: A reminder that the “Fast Forward” deadline is only two days away arrives from the “private college in upstate NY.”
  • November 13: After the subject line that “1,125 career mentors will work for you” at the “private university in Massachusetts” is a photo of a 2004 business majors and 16 lines of text with quotes about her experience at the school. A disconnect here… the photo looks just like the one in the November 3 email that went to a video about the person in the picture. Click here and you go to a video with several student testimonials rather than more about the featured graduate.
  • November 15: “Fast-Forward Application Tonight!” is the subject line message in this early AM email from the “private college in upstate NY.” In the text I’m reminded that “This opportunity won’t last forever…”
  • November 16: The “Fast-Forward Application” opportunity might not last forever, but it will last past the November 15 deadline. That’s the news in today’s email from the “private college in upstate NY” telling me that the December 1 deadline for non-binding Early Action and or a binding Early Decision is “fast approaching.”
  • November 25: An email from the “private college in upstate NY” reminds me to apply by December 1 for the “full benefits” of the Fast-Forward” application. 
  • November 28: Another “day in the life of…” video is the main point of today’s email from the “private university in Massachusetts.” Again, well done in well under 2 minutes. As with each email in this series, links to apply and to visit social media sites are prominent.
  • November 29: The subject line says this is an “Urgent” message from the “private college in upstate NY.” The admissions director is reminding our “smart and savvy” student that she can only “guarantee” those “Fast-Forward” application benefits if an application arrives by December 1, including the automatic consideration for the $9,000 per year Presidential Scholarship.
A Note on the November Results
It was obvious in November that two of our original 6 schools are far more interested in this 2013 graduate than the others, at least measured by the ongoing email contacts. And the difference in approach is interesting as well. 
  • Our “private college in upstate NY” has one goal: get our student to complete the “Fast-Forward” application to receive special benefits noted in each email by first one deadline and then a second. One thing learned so far: a “deadline” is not always a “deadline.”
  • The “private university in Massachusetts” featured video and print stories from alumni and students. No campus visit invitations this month. Overall, a more relaxed approach. 

Which is more effective? Without knowing precise conversion stats from each place, we won’t know the answer to that question.

That’s all for now.

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