For years, admissions and recruitment teams have developed marketing and communication plans to build demand, generate applications, and optimize yields. These plans ensure that key messages are sent out to provide students and their families with the information they need to make timely decisions along the enrollment pathway. But what happens after the student is enrolled and committed? Do you have a plan to extend this type of communication and relationship management through to college completion? Are you sending key messages at the right times to influence re-enrollment?
When I work with colleges and universities on their student success initiatives, I often recommend developing a post-enrollment communication flow to continue communicating with students and families to increase college completion. I like to call this a CAN Plan.
CAN stands for Congratulate, Alert and Nudge (CAN). A CAN Plan equips you to communicate persuasively with enrolled students as they attempt to persist in their classes, make progress, and re-enroll from term to term. Your plan should include many customized messages informed by pre-enrollment data and information you collect after students enroll.
How to build a well-designed CAN Plan to influence students to re-enroll
Just as you customize messages for prospective students, you must also customize messages for enrolled students. Let me share three examples of ways to do this. Here is the first way:
This attrition curve clusters students into three groups based on a statistical analysis of each student’s likelihood to retain, drawn from pre-enrollment data. You can use the pre-enrollment information to target messaging to nudge incoming students to take advantage of student services and refer them to resources that satisfy their needs. I recommend sending more and different messages for students in the middle of your curve (about two-thirds of your new students) versus students who are already likely to retain (about 20 percent of your population) based on your analysis.