How Franklin College Changed the Way They Think about Recruitment and Enrollment
How Franklin College Changed the Way They Think about Recruitment and EnrollmentAbby Jacobs, Director of Communications, College Board
Franklin College is a small liberal arts institution in Franklin, Indiana that provides an intimate, community service-oriented educational experience for its students. During her first year as Franklin’s Vice President and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid, Kate Coffman realized that in order to reach enrollment goals and continue to build a dynamic and diverse student body, Franklin needed to reach beyond their typical geographic and demographic targets. And, they needed more information about the students they recruit. Enter: Student Search and Segment Analysis Service from the College Board. All Access touched base with Kate to get her take on how these tools have helped Franklin find its footing in an uncertain recruitment market, and gain a new vision for the college moving forward.
How did you use Student Search to meet your enrollment goals this year? What did you do differently than past years?
This is my first full year as Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid. In an effort to better understand the type of student Franklin College attracts and enrolls, we partnered with the College Board and purchased the Segment Analysis Lite service. College Board analyzed a year of our data (including applicants, admitted students and those who enrolled) helping us better understand our student demographics. We have now more effectively been able to deploy our recruitment team to schools and neighborhoods with more students who might find Franklin College a good fit for their postsecondary education.
What is the most effective timeline for reaching out to students for recruitment purposes?
The timeline has changed. Using Student Search is now a year-long process for us. We license data from students taking AP courses to promote major-specific recruitment. We license data from students early in the pipeline after they take the PSAT. And we license data from students after different SAT exams. We need to continually monitor how our applications, admits and deposits look. Adding to the pipeline at every stage helps us get closer to our goals.
What advice do you have for other small schools who previously relied heavily on in-state enrollment, and are now trying to ramp up recruitment efforts out of state?
Most of us in the Midwest are feeling the pinch. Our high school age students will be on the decline for the next few years. Students who are in 7th grade now are the first year the birthrate picks back up and there is growth (and that’s five years away from college enrollment). We have to expand out-of-state recruitment to maintain or grow. But the Midwest is full of wonderful, small colleges. We went through a branding process with a great firm out of Columbus, Ohio—Ologie. It helped us create differentiated messaging. We will then try to find the students through Student Search who are looking for a small, personal experience that gives them a career-focused liberal arts education. Schools need to find their key attributes and connect to the students who want that experience. We are becoming more targeted instead of casting a wide net.
What does the future look like for Franklin? What are your goals for the incoming class of 2020? 2025?
We wrote a strategic enrollment plan that we are using as our map for the next five years. It’s a real document that we reference, not just sitting on shelf. Our goal is to grow to an enrollment of 1130 students over the next four years. We want to enroll students who will successfully complete their degrees at Franklin. We want students who will be active parts of our classroom environment and broader campus community. We know what those students look like—we have them now and they are amazing students. Now we are working to enroll more of them.