We’re Gearing Up for the Combined
ACT & Encoura Data Set!
Encoura® is changing our organization to better support the growing needs of institutions, students, and families as the enrollment environment continues to evolve. This fall, the ACT & Encoura combined data sets will be delivered inside the Encoura platform, higher ed’s app-based platform using data science, advanced analytics, and institution-specific research to enroll your best-fit students.
By uniting our programs serving higher education into the Encoura platform, you will have a more streamlined experience and be able to better serve students from enrollment to graduation.
You will now have access to the largest data set for student search overlaid with Student Mindsets™ developed by our Eduventures® research division to provide the insight needed to make emotional connections with students that drive engagement. For those members using our enhanced, prospect-to-enrolled predictive model, it will now apply across the even larger college planning population. The result will be richer, more in-depth student profiles, the ability to target students more precisely and make real-time decisions to reach your institution’s strategic goals.
If you have any questions about this transition, please feel free to refer to our frequently asked questions (FAQs) below, or speak with a representative in your area by filling in the form.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The ACT & Encoura Combined Data Sets
Is ACT & Encoura combining its programs serving higher education?
Yes, via the Encoura Platform. Over the past year, an integration team, led by a group of cross-functional leaders, has worked through the complexities of combining our data sets and offerings. Through the team’s work, we have been able to innovate our applications, streamline our services, and create the most expansive database for student search inside a single platform.
We can now shift to a continuous release of student data allowing you to receive new student profiles matching your criteria as soon as the students enter our programs. That means you can begin influencing student decisions earlier in the recruiting process! Our member institutions will have exclusive access to these benefits and full-service support to enable their enrollment strategies.
When will EOS move into the Encoura platform?
Beginning in September the Encoura Team will be reaching out and working with you to migrate from legacy systems to the Encoura platform. The final close of legacy systems and processes is scheduled for Fall 2019. However, Enroll will be available for read-only access as an added convenience so institutions can view their list history.
What are the benefits of using the new ACT & Encoura combined file layout?
Aside from shifting to align with the industry standards and best practices in data management, the combined layout for student profiles offers richer, more in-depth data points including Eduventures Student Mindsets, modeling scores, and better mapped majors in accordance with student major consistency.
How will the continuous release of student data affect my search strategies?
Continuous release allows student profiles to continuously flow to your institution, so you can engage them in a more timely manner. Over time, your institution will be able to evolve its communication strategies in ways that create a consistent cycle of communication with students as they enter Encoura programs.
The most significant change to your immediate operations will be eliminating the need to check release dates! Members will continue to work with dedicated Regional Directors to define search strategies. Then, log into the Encoura Platform to 1) project up to one year in advance how many students will match a set of search criteria, 2) determine how much of the total projected volume you would like to capture, and 3) select the “continuous delivery” option so Encoura can notify your institution when new files are available to download. Students will enter our programs as they always have, increasing in volume as the myOptions program continues to grow.
Where can I find the release schedule for ACT profiles associated with ACT’s national test dates in the Encoura Platform? Will there still be a Fall Advantage release date?
In alignment with our commitment to serve students, we are following best practices for student outreach and moving to a continuous release schedule. All records will become available as soon as they are processed throughout the year with no need for a release schedule.
- Student records sourced from the ACT assessment will continue to become searchable by institutions beginning three weeks after a national test date. You can find the 2019-2020 National Test Dates here.
- Students entering our college planning programs, myOptions and myCollegeOptions, will continue to become searchable as they currently do throughout the year. We will no longer have Fall Advantage release dates.
Adjusting to a continuous release schedule is an easy transition. Using Class Planner, you can estimate how many students matching a specific search criteria we expect to have in the combined data set over the course of the school year, just like your experience building lists for Fall Advantage and in the Enroll platform. We recommend selecting “continuous delivery” when placing new orders to receive records matching your search criteria automatically each week or month. This will ensure your institution does not miss out on viable prospective students that may become available for search later in the year.
Will the price per record of the merged data change?
The Encoura Platform has a subscription-based model for data access, which is scoped by your institution’s strategy. A Regional Director in your area will be happy to discuss the pricing model that best suits your needs and goals to ensure there is no interruption in executing your search plans this fall. If you are unsure who your Regional Director is, please send an email to email@example.com, and we will connect you to the appropriate team member.
What resources are available to help me plan the timing of my search campaigns using continuous delivery?
In the Encoura Platform today, you can see the projected volume of students we expect to match your criteria through May of the current school year to plan your search campaign strategy. Using continuous delivery, members can build a search for greater than the currently available volume of student profiles matching a search criteria, and Encoura will deliver new profiles matching that criteria weekly or monthly as they become available. That means fresh faces to reach out to consistently, and sooner.
Why were the major selections simplified, and how will this impact my search process?
ACT research on major consistency has shown us that only 55% of the students who declare an intended major when they register for the ACT select a major that is consistent with their intentions. Additionally, an internal analysis of student responses has shown that most students tend to have an idea of what they would like to study and use broader career and major interests to describe it. We simplified major selections to be more consistent with student responses and behavior with major consistency by mapping highly-specialized major tracks back to broader categories of Career and Major Interests.
To identify students in Class Planner, you will now see a list of Career and Major Interest categories. You can expand these categories to look at specific degree tracks that make up a category and omit any your school may not offer.
Searching with these categories will prevent your institution from omitting valuable students who:
- Do not understand the key differences between similar degree tracks
- Have interest in more than one adjacent degree tracks
- Have interest in an industry but are not quite sure which specialized track is the correct fit for them.
- Have not committed to a major as a high school underclassmen but would otherwise have interest in your institution.
How will the integration of various fields for the combined data set, such as major, appear in our file formats?
All integrated fields, like major, have been mapped to enable a single set of search criteria within the Encoura platform. However, the field that appears in the file will be reflective of which layout you choose to export from the Data Center. As an example, if you select a major and export using the ACT layout, the file will include the ACT major and corresponding code. Likewise, the Encoura layout will use the Encoura major. The ACT & Encoura combined layout will contain the newly mapped major description and code which has been aligned with industry data standards project in conjunction with PESC (Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council).
Will the lists my organization set up in Enroll be migrated to the Encoura platform?
We will not be able to migrate criteria/list selections from the Enroll platform. However, we have a service model for turn-key search services to ease the transition! Your Regional Director with the help of our Member Services Support Team will be reaching out to assist with rebuilding these lists using best practices to fit your institution’s goals. If you are unsure who your Regional Director is, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, read-only access to the Enroll platform will remain available during the transition period. With read-only access, you can view your search history as a reference; however, the ability to make a purchase will not be active.
Will I be able to select between TIP and EOS data in the Encoura platform?
In some respects, yes. Using search filters you can specify which criteria a student record must have present to be included in your search, like an ACT Score, which would exclude students who do not have a specific value reported. However, we have simplified our member interface by combining our data sets and search criteria into a single offering called “Prospect Search” within the Class Planner application. Each prospective student record will automatically be updated with the most valid information sourced from any of our programs at the time of your search. You will be able to download records as a .CSV file using the Encoura layout, the EOS layout, or a new ACT & Encoura combined layout that includes all of the valuable insights we source from students into a single, more comprehensive record.
Will my purchase history from ACT Enroll be migrated to the Encoura platform to prevent re-purchasing data?
Yes, beginning with your purchases in July. Further, we have an “Acquired” filter that allows members to include or omit student profiles they have already captured during their searches. In alignment with best practices in data privacy, all terms of access follow Encoura membership terms of access.
How will search criteria change with the new, combined Prospect search?
Using Prospect Search within the Class Planner application, you will be able to access the most complete and up-to-date profiles for prospective students as they enter our programs – ACT, PreACT, myOptions, and/or the myCollegeOptions survey. We’ve identified the most-used search criteria from each of these programs to improve our Class Planner application. A few key takeaways you should know:
- You are still able to select ACT or PreACT score bands for 2 million of the 8 million students in the database, as they have taken the ACT. Conversely, using GPA or another strong indicator of skill mastery will allow you to see other prospective students who have not yet taken the ACT but may meet you enrollment criteria.
- We’ve simplified the major selections to create broader categories reflecting student behavior and mobility to similar degree tracks.
- You can advance-purchase records matching a specific search criteria up to one year in advance using our student volume estimator. Then, by selecting “continuous delivery” the Encoura platform will send you weekly or monthly reports of students matching those search criteria based on your preferences.
- ACT Predictive indices will no longer be supported in the Encoura platform, as the SMART+ predictive model will provide the most accurate prediction for a student behavior at each institution.
How will I know when there are new students available matching my Prospect Search strategy?
For institutions opting for continuous delivery, a notification will be sent each time you have a file ready for download. Otherwise, as a default, the Encoura platform will generate messaging on a monthly basis to make you aware of new students matching your prior purchase criteria.
Will improvements be made to myOptions and other K-12 services?
Yes! Encoura is updating our systems to integrate our K-12 services and research into the backend of the Encoura platform. These efforts will allow us to build a more comprehensive view of the higher education landscape. By better-understanding the landscape as a whole, Encoura will create a more student-centric technology suite that improves outcomes for institutions and other student-serving organizations.
Who can I reach out to if I am not sure of an answer to a question about this transition?
Questions can be directed to your dedicated Regional Director or submitted at email@example.com. Our Enrollment Marketing Manager will ensure the question is routed to the appropriate team member for the best response.
Get Your Name in the Game
Is the ACT Get Your Name in the Game program still available (formerly known as underserved seniors in EOS program)?
Yes, and further, the ACT research team analyzed the current program and determined there is an opportunity to expand the criteria to ensure this program provides opportunities for all seniors to receive access to educational opportunities. Thus, you will be able to access these students at no charge by simply selecting to include “Undiscovered” students in your search criteria using the filter inside the Class Planner app.
What is the new criteria being used to define an “Undiscovered” student?
There is not a simple demographic-based answer to this question. In our prior approach, we assigned students based on ethnicity, income, and parent’s education attainment alone. Our new approach identifies any students not being contacted by colleges. The goal of the program is to create access for all students, and the previous criteria was limiting.
Will agency partners be able to access the Encoura platform?
We are currently developing access for agency partners in the Encoura platform. Later this year, institution administrators will be able to provide access to your agency contacts so they may collaborate and recommend student searches in Class Planner. Until complete, please work through your Encoura representative to build search lists and request orders.
Will agency partners be able to access all of my institution’s information in the Encoura platform?
No. Agency partners will only have access to Class Planner to collaborate and suggest student searches for your institution’s needs. They will not have access to any other applications in the Encoura platform or your administrative account information including payment methods, user permissions, or settings. As such, agency partners are not able to make purchases, assume costs, or agree to data usage policies on behalf of your institution. For more information about how to work with your agency in Encoura, please contact your Regional Director or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Encoura Platform
What is the Encoura platform?
The Encoura platform is an app-based software-as-a-service platform used by higher education institutions to craft their classes and make strategic enrollment and student success decisions through data science, analytics, institution-specific research, and digital services.
What applications are in the Encoura platform?
Currently there are five key applications in the Encoura platform with additional applications in progress.
- Class Planner – This application allows enrollment leaders to visualize all of the student profiles entering our programs from the testing services and our college planning program to craft their class. Members are able to connect with their best-fit students by defining their search criteria including ACT score bands, demographic segments, major interests, and use the SMART+ model to identify the students most likely to enroll at your institution in a certain demographic or geographic area.
- Data Center – Coming in Fall 2019. A center for members to review orders and retrieve all types of student search files including Prospect Search, ACT Score Reports, Declared, Legacy Students, and more.
- Enrollment Lens – Custom analytics, purpose-built for enrollment leaders to examine their enrollment funnels and identify strategies to improve conversions and meet institution goals. The SMART+ predictive model is included with access to Enrollment Lens. It is unique to your institution and the only predictive model in the industry that allows you to know how likely a student is to attend your institution before purchasing the student record.
- Eduventures Research – An e-library of higher education market analyses, primary research, and institution-specific research as conducted by Eduventures researchers.
- Engagement Analytics – A marketing performance and campaign tracking tool for institutions taking advantage of our omni-channel enrollment communication services.
Do institutions currently using the Encoura platform need to request a separate login to access EOS data?
No, you will continue to have access through your existing the Encoura platform login. EOS will be merged with TIP in Fall 2019 within the Class Planner application.
What ACT higher education services will be available in the Encoura platform in the future?
- Education Opportunity Service (EOS) – Releasing Fall 2019
- ACT Score Reporting – 2019-2020
- ACT Information Manager (AIM) Projected FY 2020
- Enrollment Information Service (EIS) – Projected FY 2021
- ACT CollegeReady – TBA
Two former ACT products, Enrollment Information Service (EIS) and ACT Information Manager (AIM) will no longer be available in their current forms. The functionality of these applications will be appearing in the Encoura platform in the future.
Who is my point of contact at Encoura?
Encoura is making big leaps in servicing your goals and has a team of knowledgeable professionals prepared to support your needs. A Regional Director in your area will be your primary point of contact and assist with questions about services, options, and pricing. Our Membership Support Services Team and Enrollment Services Consultants will support the delivery of student profiles, strategy sessions, and other professional services to ensure you get the most out of the Encoura platform.
How will these services be delivered in the Encoura platform?
- Student Search – Educational Opportunity Service (EOS) will merge with the Talent Identification Program (TIP) inside the Encoura platform, creating a combined “Prospect Search” with a more comprehensive student profile.
- Retrieving Files – A new application, called Data Center, will be added to allow members to download student search lists from the Encoura platform. The new Data Center application will replace all other methods of delivering student records.
- Delivery Cadence – Students continuously enter our programs throughout the school year. Delivery of records matching your searches can be set to one-time, monthly, or continuous cadence per your request. Notifications will be sent when new files are ready to download according to the settings established in your account menu. Members will be able to download reports as a .CSV file using the Legacy Encoura Layout, Legacy EOS Layout, or the new ACT & Encoura combined layout.
What advantages does the Encoura platform offer to enrollment professionals?
The Encoura platform has many key advantages, as it is a command center for all of the applications and programs offered by Encoura and Eduventures in one place. When combined with unmatched support and mindshare from our dedicated enrollment consultants, member institutions will uncover blind spots and create efficiencies in their enrollment practices.
Using the Encoura platform, institutions can expect to:
- Have access to the most expansive data set for student search created from the combined power of the myOptions college planning program, PreACT, and ACT assessment.
- Connect with students who are familiar with member institutions using our Declared Student Connection, Legacy Student Locator, and ACT Score Reports.
- Focus resources on the most ideal students using the SMART+™ enrollment prediction model to find students most likely to enroll at their institutions.
- Use more transparent analytics to optimize student progress through the funnel and find opportunities to refine yield strategies.
- Build more effective messaging to resonate with students using the Prospective Student Research and Admitted Student Research.
- Peruse the Eduventures Research Library to understand best practices for innovating programs or adding new ones to your portfolio.
What is the cost of the Encoura platform?
Access to Class Planner and the other core applications in the Encoura platform is an exclusive benefit to Encoura members and Eduventures research & advisory clients. Questions about membership or subscriptions to the Encoura platform should be directed to your institution’s dedicated Regional Director. If you are unsure who that might be, please forward inquiries to email@example.com, and we will connect you to our appropriate team member.
Institutions and organizations that receive ACT Score Reports at the request of students can request complimentary access to the Data Center application inside the Encoura platform to download the scores. Any set up and additional delivery fees previously incurred to receive these scores will no longer be required.
- If your organization already has access to the Encoura platform, you will not require an additional login. You only need permission to download the reports. To request access and confirm you are the correct person to receive ACT Score Reports, please submit the form at https://encoura.org/get-my-login/. Once confirmed, our team will add access to ACT Score Reports to the account of your appropriate team member.
- If your organization does not currently have access to the Encoura platform, you can also request a new login and access to the Data Center application by visiting https://encoura.org/get-my-login/ and filling in the form.
Does an institution or organization have to be an Encoura member to access the Encoura platform?
Yes, except in the case of organizations who solely receive ACT Score Reports. Membership supports Encoura’s ability to fund programs like myOptions that promote educational equality among students while simultaneously providing the foundation for our higher education programs and research.
Should I still contact ACT Customer Care to access support?
Once you begin using the Encoura platform, support will be available from the Encoura staff. We have a customer support team ready and available to assist with any questions you may have about getting started with the Encoura platform. Please reach out to your Regional Director or firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will get you the answers you need!
Get More Information
If you still have questions about this transition, please feel free to request a consultation with a representative in your area by filling in the form above.