In the current enrollment cycle, more than 1,800 four-year colleges and universities are test-optional or test-blind according to The National Center for Fair and Open Testing. Broadly sparked by pandemic necessity, most institutions have extended their testing policies beyond the pandemic, often signaling a wish to remove barriers of access to higher education.
Colorado College and RISD recently made news by pulling out of the U.S. News and World Report rankings. Their decisions follow those of Harvard and Yale law schools, among others, that made this same announcement last year.
The predicted success of academic programs is often based on a combination of projected labor demand and historic student demand. The underlying assumption is that students gravitate toward programs that offer positive employment prospects.
Now, maybe more than ever, personalization of outreach is key to engaging a college-bound student population that is shrinking in terms of both size and attention span. Personalization, however, is easier said than done.
“Who is your main competitor?” asked an Encoura colleague during a recent campus visit at a regional state university. The answer—Target—was surprising but relatable. With declining enrollments, primarily at community colleges (-7.8% decrease in spring 2022 alone) and public four-year colleges (-3.4%) and a strong labor market, it is easy to see why underserved student populations, a key student segment for these schools, might choose unskilled labor over education.
As the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, pandemic burnout lingers. Enrollment Prospects were not spared this feeling either. In the fall of 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics declared a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health. Anecdotally, we have...