There’s no need to sugarcoat it — many students think the college admissions process is too daunting to go it alone.
From completing applications to securing financial aid, students must clear many hurdles to start a program. But without the proper guidance, some may give up before they ever see the classroom.
Fortunately, higher education institutions can take steps to keep students motivated throughout the enrollment process. And by coaching advisors to engage prospective students early, you can lay the foundation for them to persist in class and graduate on time.
As such, this article explores how we harness VoiceOps, a cutting-edge coaching platform, to foster success during admissions and beyond. But first, we’ll review how our Student Engagement Model (SEM) personalizes the enrollment process for each learner.
Tailored student engagement conversations
The enrollment process is more than applications, transcripts, and financial aid. It’s also an opportunity to show prospective students you’re dedicated to making their education and career goals a reality.
We achieve that through our SEM. This is the framework our enrollment counselors follow to form relationships with students and evoke enthusiasm about completing the admissions process.
With SEM, our enrollment counselors guide students through six steps:
- Discover the student
Before touting a university, our enrollment counselors take time to form a connection with the student. They start by asking get-to-know-you questions to build rapport and gather intel about which programs may pique the student’s curiosity.
- Evaluate the student’s needs
During this step, our counselors review how the student may benefit from financial aid, scholarships, tuition reimbursement, and transfer credits. This step also includes determining which format the student prefers — online, hybrid, or on campus.
- Learn the student’s “why”
A student’s “why” is their motivation for pursuing a degree, certificate, or another credential. Common reasons to return to college include gaining the skills to earn a promotion or follow their passion into a new field.
- Tailor a solution
After getting to know the student, our counselors present the academic programs likely to match their needs. Everything becomes personal at this stage — we share how the program outcomes fit the student’s goals and offer ideas for balancing coursework with work and other commitments. We may also estimate the timeline to graduation or highlight faculty qualifications during this step.
- Ask for action
It’s time for the student to act. Although many students apply at this stage, others must check their employer’s tuition reimbursement process or discuss finances with their spouse. By setting a deadline for every action, our counselors make sure the student stays on track.
- Keep each other accountable
To help the student stay engaged, our counselors maintain consistent contact and check in regularly to bring deadlines to their attention. Our counselors also hold themselves accountable by following through on each promise they make to the student.
Following this model involves many conversations with students, and every word counts. Coaching plays a central role in this process, and you can harness innovative tools to prepare your enrollment team to deliver the right message.
Analytics that unlock student psychology
While SEM provides the framework for successful engagement, VoiceOps empowers our advisors to execute it. So, what is VoiceOps? It’s a coaching platform we use to record, measure, and improve advising calls with students.
The software works like this:
- First, it records and transcribes advisors’ conversations with students (we always disclose that calls are recorded).
- Next, we use VoiceOps to analyze those conversations for opportunities to improve how we engage students.
- Finally, we employ the software’s linguistic algorithms to find trends between what students say and the actions they take.
That last piece is crucial to better engagement. Analyzing what students share in their conversations helps us understand the psychology behind their words and uncover recurring objections. With this data at our fingertips, we can plan solutions to common challenges so that students make quicker decisions and save time when enrolling.
Kelly Del Valle, our Senior Director of Training and Development, believes these capabilities unlock the potential of our Student Engagement Model.
“We knew SEM was a successful engagement method, and investing in a coaching enablement system allowed us to prove it,” Del Valle said.
Of course, technology cannot replace a well-coached enrollment team. But as the next section shows, it enhances the training practices that foster continuous improvement.
Enjoying this article? Fill out our quick two-step form to stay up-to-date with our latest reports and infographics.
Enrollment coaches bring SEM and data together
Supporting students from the get-go sets them up for long-term success. That’s why our enrollment team includes nearly 191 counselors, and VoiceOps transcribes the calls they make. That gives our enrollment coaches the data to oversee continuous improvements to our advising calls.
So, who are our enrollment coaches? Think of them as the instructors who give our counselors a master class in our Student Engagement Model.
Our enrollment coaches provide extensive training on SEM to each of our counselors before they ever talk to a student. They also review call transcripts and provide constructive guidance when counselors stray from our best practices.
“We’re seeing a rapid lift in our conversations thanks to how our coaches use VoiceOps,” said Elizabeth Gagnon, Director of Coaching, Training, and Development. “This allows us to provide effective training to new hires and tenured colleagues alike.”
Refining student engagement goes beyond analyzing transcripts. Our coaches link VoiceOps with our CRM data to perform regression analyses. From there, we can learn which conversations drive the best student outcomes and refine our techniques accordingly.
For our enrollment team, this continuous improvement is more than a badge of honor. They earn actual digital badges for mastering behaviors that foster positive student engagement, such as:
- Student Engagement Model badges for completing calls that meet the quality expectations set by our SEM scorecard
- Student Experience Best Practices badges after demonstrating knowledge of best practices and Salesforce enhancements covered during training
- Chat Methodology badges for being able to employ chat resources and strategies to engage students at every stage of their journey
- Call to Action and Creating Urgency badges for demonstrating proficiency in motivating students to progress through the enrollment process
- Military Proficiency badges by completing a course on connecting with active-duty and veteran students and providing assistance related to tuition and military transcripts
- Reporting and Analytics badges for learning to enhance student engagement using Excel, Salesforce list views, and Salesforce reports
- Tuition Planning badges after successfully hosting an introductory conversation with a student and working together to solidify a financial plan
- Transcript Reading Excellence badges upon learning to read transcripts and navigate related conversations with students
- On-Call OLAM badgesfor providing advising support during student-facing calls using our Online Learning Advising Model (OLAM)
We also coach our enrollment counselors to meet the needs of varying student populations. For instance, while many students can tackle all coursework online, nursing students often complete in-person clinical requirements. So, preparing students to satisfy those requirements during enrollment lays a foundation for success once programs begin.
“Our coaches understand student behavior and know how to support students because they have the experience,” Del Valle said. “They draw from that experience to coach our team on tailoring the enrollment process to each student’s needs.“
The result of our enrollment team’s tools and training? Swift adaptation to learners’ evolving needs and rapid response to empower student success. In fact, our initial VoiceOps pilot enabled us to coach advisors 40% faster. This is why pairing our enrollment experience with VoiceOps capabilities is a winning combination for our university partners.
Personalized engagement makes the difference — and we can help
As enrollment continues declining nationally, it’s essential to engage students in ways that make learning personal. By tailoring your advising process to each student’s needs, you can do just that.
To get started, explore our flexible enrollment services. We can apply intelligent automation and personal support to offer your students an enriching and empowering enrollment experience.