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Boston University: Driving Top-Tier Enrollment

Posted in: Brand Positioning & Development, Education/Cultural, Qualitative Exploratory, Tracking Communications

Boston University: Driving Top-Tier Enrollment

Challenge: Plan-it worked with Boston University on an initiative to drive enrollment of admitted top-tier students and to help the University predict future behavior of these key target students.

Objective: Identify the triggers that would drive top-tier admitted students to select BU as their chosen college to attend.

Phase I: Three Phases of “Enrollee Conversion” work began with an expansive Qualitative Exploratory, to thoroughly understand the application and enrollment decision, including key drivers in the decision. This exploratory included parents, high school guidance counselors, high school juniors and seniors, and college freshmen to obtain perspective from all relevant constituencies, including influencers in the decision, those about to make the college decision, and those who had already made the college decision.
Phase II: Quantitative Conjoint/Decision Simulation was used in Phase II among high school seniors accepted to BU (enrollees and non-enrollees), using the exploratory learning to design the survey . The conjoint analysis was then used to understand the optimal combination of messages, and weight given to each message, to convert an accepted student to an enrollee.
Phase III: A Conversion Simulator model was created to help BU predict the percentage of students who would convert to enrollees, based on specific combinations of messages about BU. This tool allows BU to evaluate different messaging scenarios to gauge how many accepted students will enroll.

Result: Plan-it’s work led to strategic changes in messaging across all areas of the admissions process at BU, from on-campus and off-campus information sessions, to printed admissions collateral materials, to campus tours and website content design. In the first year, BU saw a significant increase in applications and early enrollees, and was featured in a Boston Globe article for these efforts. More recently, BU enrollment of desired target students has significantly surpassed expectations.