NCU Enrollment On The Rise

More Thorough Student Scouting Appears to Be Paying Off for Admissions Team

North Central has experienced a gradual rise in student enrollments since 2016. Increased enrollment is expected due to North Central’s initiatives and President Scott Hagan’s efforts.

There have been fluctuations in North Central’s graduation rates in recent years, according to an interview with Chief Enrollment Officer Mike Price. Price oversees the marketing, admissions, and financial aid offices of the university.

Price explained that both internal and external variables influence enrollment rates. One of these external variables includes high school graduation rates, which have declined in the Midwest over the past several years, although they have remained steady in Minnesota.

Internal influences include the university president, faculty, staff, and student attitudes. Institutional efforts include recruiting program refinement, development of marketing material, school representation at events, development of academic programs, and prospective student scouting.

Graduate studies N/a N/a N/a N/a 29 32 43
Undergrad w/out PSEO 1128 1106 1029 1009 903 894 915
PSEO 185 197 171 174 174 174 151
Total enrollment 1313 1303 1200 1183 1106 1100 *1120
Fall-time census year 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

*11 additional students were in the online Associate of Arts in Church Leadership program

Not all college presidents build excitement about their schools and encourage the spread of that energy among faculty and staff.

“He’s [President Hagan] done a great job building bridges, making connections, getting out and really representing the university not only to our AG denomination, but even outside of that,” Price said.

When considering internal recruitment processes, Price explained the three questions North Central asks: What’s working well, what could be better, and what should be introduced? One of these components includes the introduction of the Pardot marketing system that helps create multiple touchpoints with prospective students.

According to Price, Pardot employs a predictive recruiting system in conjunction with the ACT. About 60 percent of schools accept an ACT program which includes students who are given a survey to gauge their interests, what type of academic programs they may be interested in, how far away from home they want to be when attending a university, and religious views. North Central has a profile that the ACT system compares potential students to, generating a list of individuals that are most likely to be interested in the school, predicting who the university could recruit.

For the first time North Central is focusing on sophomore high school students in the enrollment process. This expanded reach was instituted after focusing on juniors the previous year.

“By the time they’re a junior, [high school students are] already making their college decision,” Price said. “If we’re only getting in front of them when they’re a senior, we’re doing it too late.”

North Central tries to adapt its strategies to maximize their effectiveness, Price explained. He said that every year North Central asks two questions: what unique, new, and exciting approach could we develop for the next year’s enrollment plan, and what has already been implemented but could be improved?

“What will kill success or momentum is complacency,” said Price.

According to Price, there are multiple areas of potential development, including efforts to grow North Central’s presence of military personnel, the possible introduction of biological sciences in the fall of 2020, the production of marketing material for upcoming graduate studies programs, and improved parent engagement. Teams have been assigned to each of these areas to oversee their planning and execution.

The university becomes visible to prospective students through travel initiatives, including school representation at conferences, camps, and high schools. The recently renovated website serves as a location for interested students and parents to receive information about the school.

Price commended his colleagues for their efforts.

“The three leaders that I work directly with are just phenomenal at what they do, and they’re phenomenal at leading their teams, and their teams are doing amazing work.”

About the author: Roger Busse

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