Playbook: How to yield direct admits 

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It’s a match! Now what?!

The decline of college-going students –also known as the enrollment cliff– has cast a looming shadow over the college admissions process. With this reality at the forefront of higher ed institutions, name-buy services and networks have put forth a new strategy for schools in need of an application boost through the concept of direct admissions. 

Direct admit workflows generally operate as follows: 

  1. Students discover your institution via 3rd party networks that they have created a profile with or otherwise provided information to. 
  2. The networks match students to your institution based on shared criteria.
  3. Students are conditionally admitted to your institution via the 3rd party, and you receive their contact details. Time to yield! 

To put it mildly, quite different from the traditional college search process… am I right!?

In this playbook, we’ll dive into specific yield tactics and strategies and why they need to be different from yielding traditional applicants, inquiries and admits. 


Context: it matters 

As one of the only conversion focused platforms in higher ed, we have unique visibility to understand how direct admit students yield vs. other student types. We know that there’s no better way to win Gen Z’s attention other than via the medium of their choice (video) and their preferred channel of communication (text, WhatsApp and messaging channels). We also know that Goodkind’s automation infrastructure can curate a workflow that’s focused on understanding student needs with sequential points of engagement while diligently managing the volume of direct admits that are hurdled into the top of your admissions funnel. 

So then, how can you ensure that you see a yield boost from your investment in Direct Admissions in the fall semester? What is the difference in approach between traditionally purchased or organicleads and direct admit leads? More deliberate, direct, context-based language.  

Here’s how👇

  1. Welcome Message: Explicitly state the platform that students enter your database from into your SMS and video messages such that students understand how you got their information. Transparent language in your outreach not only helps build trust with students, but it also helps inform students about how they came into contact with your institution in the first place. A simple: “Hey [first name], we get notified when you match with a school on Niche. How’s the college search going?”, opens up the possibility to answer any questions they may have, and allows your team to emphasize how their personal interests and needs align with your college. As a broader point, Gen Z is savvy. They run shopify stores, they know what merge fields and drip campaigns are. Treat them as such. 
  1. Be Their Guide: Just as context matters, so does leaving a lasting impression of your institution, and there’s no better way to break the direct admit void than by adding a face to your institution. As your first touchpoint, introduce direct admit leads to their counselor. Even better, a counselor that is specifically focused on the needs of direct admit students. Counselors can guide students through their situation, and a human touch, makes the interaction all the more real, and worthwhile.
  1. It’s a Match: Direct admit leads are likely to follow a different course of action than typical applicants, and require just as much nurturing and guidance in their college search, if not more, than a typical top of funnel lead. Direct admit students come to learn about your school in a gallery, mixed in with other schools. In some cases, students are opted in vs. opting in themselves – recognizing this distinction is integral to inform your strategy and messages. Discover how Millikin U shared next steps for Niche direct admits, with a personalized one-to-many video message focused on how to complete their application and secure their offer.   
  1. Encourage Participation: Although less work was required of students for their admission, a college acceptance is still a milestone achievement. Watch how Naz University congratulates (all!) direct admits with an emphasis to visit campus, and a fully branded video page and script. The most high-intent students will always be those that have attended a campus visit, and this sentiment is especially true for direct admit leads. (A congratulatory SMS works just as well, so long as you pinpoint their frame of reference i.e., congrats on your acceptance via Niche or College Board!).   
  1. Build Rapport: Consistent follow ups with entry points that connect Niche leads to your greater school community, adds an extra layer of comfortability for students who are sifting through their direct admission matches. Encouraging students to get in touch about their direct admissions into your video messages increases that layer of familiarity. If you’ve already begun a SMS thread with direct admit students, emphasize your availability to them. The more time you spend nurturing trust, the more you’ll see a boost in seats when the fall semester rolls around.  

Volume Management with a Multi-Platform Strategy

As more and more schools pilot direct admissions in their yield plans, it’s not enough to accrue a large volume of applicants without the right tactics (and tools) focused on the best opportunities to engage. Direct admit students need to be yielded, and those yield tactics need to be different from students coming into your funnel through different channels. Their context is different, their understanding is different and it’s critical those distinctions influence your approach. In summary: direct admit leads need to be yielded just as hard, but differently than other top of funnel leads. 

Curious to learn more? Book a consultation to talk about yielding your Direct Admits.