Back to Basics: Blessedly Brief Inquiry Forms from DePaul, DePauw, and Lasell universities
An ancient direct marketing principle tells us that shorter inquiry forms result in more completions than long ones. That’s especially true when what’s asked on an inquiry form is limited to what a person knows is necessary to receive a response.
The DePauw and Lasell examples here (used at the end of academic program pages) exclude much of what is often requested or required on inquiry forms for potential undergrad students:
- test scores and GPA data,
- high school CEEB code,
- extra curricular interests
- How did you hear about us?
Given that a potential student is completing this from an academic program page, we trust the DePauw and Lasell systems can add that to the data base. If so, an early email might include info on that program. Many schools ask for academic program interest on their general inquiry forms but never use it in early contacts. What to differentiate your school? Correct that to gain a competitive advantage.
When is a longer form better?
When you have more inquiries than you need and only want new ones from the most highly interested students. In that case, those who persevere through a longer form indeed are more interested in you than those who will not do this.
If you want more inquiries ask only for info that you need to make a first response.
Special design point…
This DePaul example (from a general “request info” page for undergrad students) shows how a blessedly brief inquiry form lets you design and display the complete from when the inquiry page opens.
A visitor immediately can see that the form will not take long to complete. Some forms that request little information are still too spread out over a page for immediate viewing. A redesign can fix that challenge.
Academic program response example…
The general DePaul form does not ask for academic program interest. Learning about academic programs that interest them is a key task for almost all potential students. Add that to a general inquiry form if you can use it in an early response sequence.
In years of secret shopping I’ve only had one school (a regional university in Wisconsin) use academic program information to distinguish itself with responses from the chair of the biology department and the head of the pre-med committee. Admirable. In marketing jargon that’s called “personalization that counts.”
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