4 reasons your SIS gets a failing grade in enrollment management

Stop trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, when it comes to enrollment management -- retooling is necessary if your school competes for students.
Stop trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, when it comes to enrollment management — retooling is necessary if your school competes for students.

Your Student Information System (SIS) is good at a lot of things. But if you’re a school that competes for students, “good” is probably not enough when it comes to enrollment management. Here’s why:

1. SIS isn’t designed to help you compete for students.

An admissions staffer at a traditional school put it best during a recent Twitter chat on enrollment management: “One of our biggest problems is we don’t want to admit the dirty secret: we are in sales.”

If a school competes with other schools for ‘right-fit’ students, its enrollment management solution must provide that school every advantage possible to compete effectively and win against schools that attract similar prospects. It needs to be effective at identifying right-fit students, reaching them quickly, and actively engaging them with personalized conversations about its programs – all within minutes of receiving the inquiry.

2. SIS can’t move fast enough to outpace the competition.

According to our clients and recent Velocify research, being first to reach the student prospect is critical. In fact, inquiries called within the first minute are nearly 400% more likely to enroll than the average inquiry. Yet SIS is not designed for speed. Only by quickly getting prospective students on the phone can the enrollment counselor and the prospective student best determine whether they are the right fit for each other.

Being the first to have that conversation can have a positive, lasting impact. Tricoci University of Beauty Culture agrees. “It makes a difference that we have the conversation first, before other schools, otherwise we risk losing the opportunity to have even that first discovery conversation with a prospect.”

3. SIS gets in the way of meaningful conversations with student prospects.

Effective enrollment begins and ends with detailed, personalized conversations with prospective students.

In Tricoci’s case, using their SIS delayed enrollment counselor response times and sometimes even required admissions counselors to use sticky notes to keep track of follow-up required with the prospective student. This time-consuming, manual, error prone process hindered Tricoci’s ability to have productive discovery conversations with prospects in order to build excitement and enthusiasm for its programs. By automating the enrollment process, Tricoci is now able to focus on communications that engage, inform and motivate prospective students at every step in the process.

4. SIS can’t be easily customized to follow enrollment management best practices.

Those who have tried to add customized functionality to their SIS — enrollment-stage workflow, inquiry prioritization, distribution and redistribution rules — know how agonizing it can be. Their efforts usually end in one of two ways: 1) the project gets bogged down by the significant amount of IT team resources (or SIS vendor consulting fees) needed to build the functionality from scratch, or 2) it gets stuck at the back of a long IT department request queue.

Guided enrollment management processes that are based on best practices should be set, automated and easily accessible to admissions management to update as needed. The right system should be capable of automating compliance updates from admissions and marketing regulations through template-based emails and text messages, scripts, call recording functionality, and materials from third-party compliance vendors.

You wouldn’t climb a mountain peak without ropes, and you shouldn’t try to win at enrollment management without the right equipment.

If you are drowning in inquiries, then send out an SOS for your SIS. You can start by checking out the Velocify Enrollment Management Rescue Kit. The kit includes practical solutions and analytics-based best practices for addressing every ill affecting the enrollment management process. And best of all, it’s free!

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