By Rob Reed | June 9, 2014
Welcome to the latest installment of Adventures in Recruiting! This is the fourth episode so I guess it’s time to talk about a new hope!
And what do I mean by that statement? Starting the recruitment cycle for the autumn 2015 (Au15) class! Woo!
Monday (June 9th) is what I am going to consider the official start of the new recruitment cycle for the other recruiters on staff and me. The reason I consider Monday the official start is that we (recruiters at OSU) will be sending out introduction e-mails to prospective students in our territories. So, if you’re going to be a high school senior and you live in the Pittsburgh, PA area you might receive an e-mail from me (or if you live somewhere else someone on my staff)!
Some of you might be thinking though, “Rob, I’ve already received mailings, emails, and phone calls from Ohio State.” To which I respond, “Yes!” I just consider Monday the official start for my area of recruitment, but many students have already entered…*think dramatic music in your head*…The Funnel! I’ll talk more about the funnel in a minute.
I’ve stated in previous posts that I want to give readers insight into the recruiting and admission process, so I am going to start just by talking about who will be getting emails (and why you might have already received mailings, emails, and phone calls).
Prospects and Inquiries
“Prospects” represent the broadest range of students and is also the group that we (colleges) typically know the least about because of how we get prospect information. Colleges acquire prospect data from ACT, SAT, and other sources. A student does have the option of opting out of ACT or the College Board sharing the student’s information. Prospects tend to get the more general information pieces from colleges because we just don’t know a lot about the student, nor do we have a good indication about how interested the student actually is in our institution.
“Inquiries” represent a more specific range of students. An inquiry is a student who (in general) has made some form of official communication with an institution. Examples of what makes an inquiry include: scheduling a campus visit, requesting that ACT or the College Board send your test scores to the school, or responding to one of the prospect communications that I was mentioning above.
These are just a few examples, but all represent a student showing a higher level of interest in our institution. Inquiries will often receive a greater degree of communication from an institution because the institution will often have more information for an inquiry, for example, we might know the area of academic interest.
So why are prospects and inquiries important? Well…they represent the largest pool of potential applicants. Believe it or not I’m not just at Ohio State to be a pretty face! One of my jobs is to recruit students so I need to start somewhere!
The Au15 recruitment season has started, so why is the difference between prospects and inquires important? Let’s say I can call 10 students in a week and I have a list of 100 students with 60 as prospects and 40 as inquiries (I’m using low numbers so I can figure out appropriate math!). I have many options in how I choose to call, I could just do a simple random sample which on average would net me six prospects and four inquiries.
That would get me to the number I want to call, but am I effectively using my time? I would argue no, I’m not using my time effectively. I’m better off calling 10 inquiries because these are students that have already shown a degree of interest in Ohio State. It doesn’t mean I ignore my prospects, but maybe I look at other forms of communication to start with–such as email.
Alright, so we now know a little bit more about prospects and inquiries, now what was this funnel thing I mentioned above? Well…The All-Mighty Admissions Funnel!
The idea behind the funnel is that we have a lot of students at the top and with each step it narrows. Part of my job is to make sure it narrows in a way that falls in-line with institutional goals. I need to make sure that I am (and that my staff is) recruiting the right students and generating enough interest to have those students apply.
Once students have applied then I review applications and help make sure the right students are admitted. Then, when a student is admitted, it’s working to have the student pay their acceptance fee. Then, at Ohio State, Undergraduate Orientation and First Year Experience take the lead on helping build the foundation for a successful student experience at Ohio State.
That’s a very simplified way to look at the funnel. Part of the difficulty in recruitment is the fact that at the prospect (and inquiry) stage we are working with incomplete information. The students who I will begin calling and emailing for Au15 are receiving those calls and emails because based on the information I have, Ohio State looks like it could be a good fit.
For some of those students, Ohio State will be a good fit.
So if you’re a high school student and receive an email from another Territory Manager or me, it’s because you are in Ohio State’s funnel.
And since I like a little humor in a blog post I’ll say, “F@#$ Ohio State! Go Blue!” is not an uncommon way for a student to let us know they are not interested in further communication. I’ll also say that while there is “the” rivalry between Ohio State and Michigan, the Undergraduate Admission Offices at the two schools are friends and we aren’t afraid to talk with one another. :)