Hoboken, New Jersey (Nov. 5, 2009) — While record numbers of adult students are seeking advanced credentials due to the economic downturn, they are displaying a new preference toward anonymity in the recruitment process. The number of adult prospects considered to be "stealth applicants," or those applicants that a school has never had contact with prior to application submission, and other propensities of adult students were revealed at a recent convening of higher education administrators orchestrated by EducationDynamics.
Previously, colleges and universities had the opportunity to interact with a majority of adult prospects during the decision-making process through completed inquiry forms or even in-person visits to a school’s admissions office. However, approximately half of adult applicants are now considered "stealth applicants," and catering to these applicants is projected to emerge as the most salient challenge in growing adult student market share in the months and years to come.
“Research has indicated the incidence of adult ‘stealth applicants’ has and will continue to increase in the months and years to come in light of the relative anonymity afforded by web-based mediums,” explains Carol Aslanian, senior vice president, Market Research and Advisory Services division of EducationDynamics. “Given that a school’s prospecting website is the chief and sometimes only resource that a prospective student taps prior to making an application decision, schools will face intense pressure to educate adult prospects about the school and convey their message via an adult student-friendly website in lieu of direct interaction.”
Other trends revealed in the Aslanian Group Seminar “Competing for Adult Students” included:
· Insufficient market data for effective decision-making in the recruitment process. An intense demand exists to better understand emerging student preferences to increase yield in the post-inquiry enrollment process. Recent resources including the EducationDynamics white paper titled “Understanding Adult Learner Trends to Predict Future Opportunities” and the eLearning Index seek to fill this informational void.
· Evaluation of prospective students’ previous study is integral to accelerating time to degree. Because the priority for adult students is to complete degree or certificate programs as soon as possible, time to degree is a huge component in attracting adult learners. The more flexible a school can be regarding evaluation of existing credits, the more quickly adults will persist.
· Non-profit institutions are learning from their for-profit counterparts. For-profit institutions must be market sensitive and adjust to what students demand. Non-profit colleges and universities are starting to adopt this same commitment to emerging student preferences to maintain their competitive advantage.
The Aslanian Group Seminar, held October 21st-22nd in Chicago, featured a line-up of renowned student prospecting and enrollment experts who addressed cost-effective methods to increase enrollment yield. Speakers included Bob Johnson, president of Bob Johnson Consulting; Bill Stevens, Emeritus Dean of Continuing Education, Guilford College; Jennifer Copeland, general manager of DemandEngine; Andrew Gansler, president of the Prospecting Services Division of EducationDynamics; and Carol Aslanian. Details for the upcoming Spring Seminar, to be held June 3-4, 2010, will be revealed in the months to come.
EducationDynamics, a portfolio company of Halyard Capital, is higher education’s leading marketing services company dedicated to helping institutions find, enroll and retain students. Its content-rich and highly visible education websites, including EarnMyDegree.com, eLearners.com, GradSchools.com, StudyAbroad.com, and its more than 50 special interest microsites, make EducationDynamics the premier provider of qualified prospective students for colleges and universities. In addition, the company offers a full suite of Web-delivered services proven to drive enrollment growth and reduce student attrition.Through its Market Research and Advisory Services division, the company brings a decade of proprietary research, unparalleled market and student intelligence, and best practice insights to its clients.For more information, visit http://www.educationdynamics.com.