Data Science 101 for Higher Ed Marketing

With a rapidly shifting higher education sector, schools need to fully use every tool at their disposal to help them attract, enroll, and support students through graduation. Unfortunately, universities generally underuse the information they possess. Individual departments often hold data that is not fully shared to support varied institutional priorities. With a better understanding of data analytics, enrollment personnel can gather data, network with others in their institutions, and discover new ways to leverage the power of data to help bolster enrollment.

At its most basic, data analytics is the science of analyzing raw information to draw conclusions. For example, colleges already have certain demographic information on students who apply, are admitted, enroll in classes, and complete their studies. Beyond this, colleges are increasingly collecting data on student satisfaction and other qualitative measures. Enrollment departments can utilize these data sets to look for patterns among students who succeed, helping to predict the demographic qualities of students who are most likely to enroll and persist in the institutions.

However, schools can also mine these mountains of information to determine how the institution can better support the at-risk students in their programs, using the data to make their offerings more relevant to non-traditional students of various types. For example, if enrollment departments only look at the students most likely to succeed in college, they may neglect the underserved prospective students who may succeed with more support. Also, many universities will be competing for students who can easily thrive in college, while identifying more at-risk students that your institution is likely to serve well may yield higher admission numbers overall.

Internal data is helpful, but the picture is not complete without looking at overall trends in the institution’s country, state, and region. More comprehensive data can come from many reputable sources. With the fast-changing nature of education over the past couple of years, there are many data collection efforts underway that individual institutions can use. Just as consumer marketing looks at the psychology of consumers, colleges and universities can think about prospective students as “consumers,” at least from an enrollment recruitment perspective. Behavioral patterns can uncover insights that will help shape initiatives for increasing enrollment. For instance, marketers can find trends in media usage for the demographic groups they target to help them focus their advertising on the platforms and groups of prospects most likely to enroll.

To start or expand your use of data analytics in enrollment marketing, start by exploring your objectives. Then you can proceed with gathering and vetting data, designing the analysis, and implementing initiatives to uncover actionable conclusions that will assist you in refining your marketing. For individual questions about how data analytics can help your enrollment team, please get in touch with our specialists.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you adapt to the evolving education marketing landscape and ramp up your efforts, please contact us today.


The Prospective Student Journey:

Reaching Traditional College Students

We have identified four specific points in the journey where schools can make small changes that can increase the number of incoming students. Learn how to implement these changes and optimize these opportunities.

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