51: Increasing Student Yield at University of Miami w/ Jay Jacobs

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Jay Jacobs, Director of Enrollment Management and Admission Operations at University of Miami discusses their multi-tiered approach to increasing student yield.

You're listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education, the best professional development podcast for higher education leaders looking to grow enrollment at their college or university. Whether you're looking for fresh enrollment growth techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to enrollment growth university, a proud member of the connect e Tou podcast network. I'm Eric Oleson, ATP of marketing at Helix Education, and we're here today with J Jacobs, director of enrollment management and admission operations at University of Miami. Jay, welcome to the show. Thanks for having me, Eric. Really excited to talk with you today about a holistic approach to increasing yield at your institution. Before we dig into that, Jay, can you get the listeners a little bit better understanding of both the University of Miami and your role? They're sure so. The University of Miami is a mid size private inst ...

...fishing down here in south Florida. We have about tenzero undergraduate students, about five to six thousand graduate students and eleven different schools and colleges, which really makes us unique, both a kind of on the research side the education side, and then you know, of course, the the Clinical Hospital that we have here in Miami and throughout South Florida. It's a really exceptional place. We are a minority majority school, with less than half of our students self identifying as white, which really makes this place kind of tick and the environment here really vibrant. My role at the University of Miami has recently shifted. I was in undergraduate admission the past two years and now, as you mentioned, on the operation side, where we're doing kind of all that back end processing, not only for undergraduate admission, also for financial aid, international student scholars and a handful of graduate programs here at the university. So it's a...

...really new role for me, but also a really interesting challenge and stepping stone from my personal career. Awesome. Congratulations on that, Jay. Let's start out with a definitional level set. For those who don't come directly from the enrollment management world, can you explain the concept of yield when referring to an incoming class? Sure so, yielding a student is more or less convincing that admitted student to enroll here at the University of Miami. So when we talk yield rate, it's the number of students who attend come our census state, divided by the number of students who are admitted for that entering term. Awesome. And you tackle yield at the University of Miami Very holistically and I was super impressed by all the levers that you're pulling, using multiple strategies to help move the needle. Let's start off with what you're hoping to accomplished through yield specific events. Sure so you know everything that we do here, not not...

...just with on the event side but everything that we do in enrollment management. We do ask ourselves the question, how will this impact? How will this positively impact our yield? Of course we do on and off campus events, like many of our peer and Asper and institutions do, whether that's large days here on campus throughout April, but our staff is also traveling out in the country hosting yield events in some of those major feeder markets for the University of Miami. We do partner in undergraduate admission and enrollment management with our colleagues on the alumni a fair side and the advancement side to help us kick those off campus events, especially off the ground and get alumni interacting with newly admitted students in order to show them the value of a University of Miami Education. And then, you know, continuing not just through April, but we really focus...

...our events, in our efforts throughout the summer, and I'll use another kind of em lingo term here in terms of antimelt initiative. So keeping those students who enrolled come may first, keeping them enrolled through our census state in the fall. So we do that a number of different ways through street in mind some summer communication plans. We do work with our nine undergraduate schools and colleges and the advisors housed within those schools and colleges for communication with students throughout the summer months. And then we've also recently that this is our second year doing what we call a guide for parents and students, or our GPS team, which is a cadre of about twenty undergraduate students working with in conjunction with admission and our retention center and enrollment management on keeping tabs of enrolled students throughout the summer. Really really great. Yieeld and melt initiativesn't yes, I think some...

...of our listeners probably do appreciate that second definitional levels that Jay, can you talk about the work that you're also doing super early in the funnel in order to build brand affinity early and in increase yield rates when it comes down to decision time? Yeah, absolutely. I mean we this is something that we've recently taken on over the past two years at the University of Miami is just being very cognizant and strategic about the very top end funnel building initiatives that we do here. Rather than blanketing the country or even the world with University of Miami Marketing Materials, we want to make sure that we are communicating with those students who we believe fit with the University of Miami mission and values and our educational philosophy, but also students who behave like students who have been successful here in the past. So we want to purchase or license names through our search vendor and you know, testing agencies and things like that through with students very...

...strategically. Or we have started to kind of track what we will call affinity towards the University of Miami a number of different ways, and I say all this kind of very carefully, because we do not use another admission lingo demonstrated interest in our decision making process. Yeah, you know, but we do want to make sure that students who are in every aspect of our funnel interested in the University of Miami. You know, a lot of our a lot of our colleagues and admission across the country are so concerned about application generation. We are not necessarily concerned about Abgen at the University of Miami. We are concerned about do we have the right students in our applicant pool who want to be at the University of Miami? Really good stuff, Jay at. As we've been discussing throughout this conversation, yield is this kind of large problem that requires more holistic solutions. Talk about the cross departmental collaboration that you built the...

University of Miami to help yield strategies when it comes to a data standpoint? Yeah, sure, we you know, I've already kind of alluded to some of the cross departmental collaborations and I'll talk specifically. You know, from either an admission and or operations position, we have six different six or seven different departments with housed under the enrollment management umbrella here at the University of Miami, and each one works very closely on all of these yield and antimolt initiatives. So we do have an enrollment management systems and analytics kind of like you mentioned, kind of data driven type of department in em where you know they are helping us. Roi when it comes to our events. That like we were talking about earlier. Roi when it comes to our communication plans, both electronically and social hem I should say email, social and print things like that.

And when I say Roi, I don't necessarily mean dollar figures, but I do mean field rate. So you know we're asking our search vendor rather than likelihood of application for an inquiry, likelihood of yielding that inquiry or you know, did students who open that one email to that email work in getting them to roll at to University of Miami? So I mentioned marketing, marketing a little bit. You can check out the University of Miami Admission Offices instagram account on instagram. They do really cool stuff with highlighting students, answering perspective student questions and currently you using that GPS team that I talked about earlier on answering new admitted or new enrolled students questions as well and making that enrollment process as easy as possible during the month of April. Financial aid, you know, we work with them to get accurate aid packages out as early as possible.

You know, the vast majority of our aid packages get out with our admission offers and then we work in it in admission, closely with our retention center, like I mentioned, in International Student Services Center to make those eye twenty processes and visa processes as smooth as possible for our international student coort. Okay, really good stuff. Finally, let's talk about early decision notifications and the effect that that's had under yield rates. Yeah, absolutely so. I guess I can talk both philosophically and, you know, true numbers when it comes to our ED initiatives, early decision at the University of Miami or the full our philosophy towards early decision is shifted over the past few years. So when I started here with the entering class in the fall of two thousand and sixteen, about twenty ISS percent of our of our class came in through early decision. Our applicant pool was very, very small and since then we have almost...

...doubled the the eed applicant pool for this fall. Two Thousand and eighteen start date. We're still I know early decision can be a very controversial topic in access, in admission, etc. And we we do believe that early decision will help us move the needle on our yield rate. That being said, we also want to be as least controversial as possible. This year only about a quarter of our classes coming in early decision and you'll see that incrementally step up. But we believe that, you know, making sure that a good portion of our class can come through our non binding program still in order to keep that access alive for students who aren't necessarily prepared to navigate that early and binding decision notification plan. So we, you know, are going to continue to increase, try to increase our applicant pool for our early decision programs.

We will continue to try to increase the quality of that applicant pool. As I mentioned in your last question, Eric, about cross departmental initiatives. You know we work closely with marketing to get students out, get marketing materials out to students who have indicated that Um may be their first choice. We try to shift their opinion to make um their first choice. And we do track throughout the recruitment process whether or not a student has told us that. Again, we don't use that in the admission decision making process, but we will use that in order to hopefully generate early decision candidates down the funnel. Jay, really good stuff. Really impressed by this kind of integrated approach that the University of Miami takes to yield any next steps? Advice for institutions who are looking to turn the needle at their institution any of these that we talked about today that that should be high priorities in terms of things that folks might not be doing or might not be doing with N up intention. Sure, I...

...mean I think it. I think it's going to differ from institution to institution. You know, whether your yield rate or your melt rate is going to be the issue will probably depend on which initiatives you're going to focus on the most in a much higher level and more full philosophical level. My advice for other institutions is is to know what type of institution you are and who you are and don't be apologetic for that. You know, at the University of Miami, our cost of attendance is coming year is going to be over k. We believe that the value is worth that and it's up to us to go out find the students who agree with the our educational philosophy, our research, our education and our service mindset. So that's my advice. Know who you are and find the students who want to be at the school that you are. Jay, thanks so much for your time today. What's the best place for listeners to connect with you they have any follow up questions? Yeah,...

...absolutely. I'm all over social media. My twitter handle is Jo t a m as in Michael Jota. I Lurk through Hashtag Im chat more than I participate these days, as I'm usually cranking away on my dissertation. You can find me on Linkedin or my email address is Jay Dot Jacobs at Miami Dot Edu. Simply let me know that you listen to this podcast and I'd love to continue this conversation with anyone and everyone. Awesome. Thanks against so much for joining us today. J. Thank you, Eric, appreciate it. Attracting today's new post traditional learners means adopting new enrollment strategies. Helix educations, data driven enterprise wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquely helping colleges and universities thrive in this new education landscape, and Helix has just published the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook with fifty percent brand new content on how institutions can...

...solve today's most pressing enrollment growth challenges. Downloaded today for free at Helix Educationcom. Playbook. You've been listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show and Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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