Some institutions prefer that GDAIS do a more focused assessment of their recruitment program and ask us to direct our attention toward individual departments that play a central role in the enrollment of new students or the retention of current students. These program audits are similar in many respects to the institution-wide assessment, but they go into greater individual detail and are less focused on big picture issues. Audits are conducted in the following areas:
A complete review and assessment of admissions office strategies, tactics and operations from prospect development and cultivation to post-deposit follow-up strategies, we look at budgets, staffing, data management, travel plans, direct mail strategies, communication flow, campus visit planning, interview techniques, telerecruiting, and professional development. Assessment reports include a comprehensive evaluation of the current program and specific recommendation to improve results.
Using financial aid effectively to influence student choice is a critical element of any recruitment program. GDAIS will review financial aid office operations to make certain they are in compliance with Federal regulations, and that the staff is oriented toward recruitment. We review packaging strategies to determine if aid is being awarded in a way to maximize institutional enrollment goals for both new and returning students. We will also recommend strategies to increase the quantity and quality of enrolled students and to increase net tuition revenue.
Current students many times leave colleges for many of the same reasons that accepted applicants chose to go elsewhere. GDAIS will analyze the issues affecting student dissatisfaction and evaluate the strategies and programs that are in place to confront theses issues. We review everything from the advising and registration process to student support mechanisms, institutional safety nets, financial aid issues, quality of the student life experience and opportunities for students to bond with the college. Assessment reports include an evaluation of the attrition related problems and recommended solutions.
GDAIS’ assessments focus on the extent to which a college’s PR program is reaching out to publics in support of student recruitment, alumni relations, development and media relations. We examine strategies for crisis management, institutional image and visibility enhancement, market positioning and creative services. Reports suggest creative, cost-effective ways to achieve these objectives with the constrained resources of most institutions.
The Internet and Web have forever changed the way colleges communicate with prospective students and their other major audiences. GDAIS communications assessments review the existing traditional publications and other communications methods that are in place and evaluate the extent to which they are in sync with the electronic communication needs of the present and future. Focus groups are used to test the effectiveness of individual pieces. Recommendations include ways to enhance current communication devices and integrate them with a new electronic flow using broadcast e-mail, PDF files and Web portals.
Website assessments include four separate components. GDAIS creative services designers and programmers assess the site for design quality, functionality, accessibility and the utilization of the latest technologies. Our admissions and public relations professionals evaluate the content of the site and its ability to serve a college’s target audiences: students, prospective students, alumni, faculty and staff. Our environmental scanners complete an unbiased analysis of how the site compares those of the competition. Then, using a carefully selected focus group of college-bound high school students, we evaluate the website and provide the client with specific feedback from those who matter the most.