Transfer Students and a Holistic Strategic Enrollment Strategy

A week doesn’t go by that I don’t have a substantive conversation with a partner or colleague about transfer students. The topics on the subject vary from:

  • Increasing undergraduate (UG) enrollment by increasing the number of transfer students, to
  • Improving “the fit” of a transfer student as measured by the students’ performance and persistence to graduation to
  • Recruiting transfers from community colleges and other institutions to achieve diversity, access and/or affordability goals, to
  • Wanting to defend an institution’s student base from other schools looking to recruit students.

Enrolling transfer students is a timely strategic conversation due to the implications of COVID-19 on UG enrollment, as well as the demographic changes we will experience this decade, and the relaxing of ‘rules’ related to recruiting students who intend to or have enrolled at other institutions.”

This is a complicated topic and varies by institution, and many are re-thinking their transfer student strategies. Both on the offensive, recruiting transfer students to their institutions, and on the defensive, student retention and guarding against students leaving for a different school.

AI Provides the Road Map

It is in these complex situations where Artificial Intelligence (AI) shines. AI taxes many different variables and scenarios, simplifies them, and provides a roadmap for you to follow to achieve your goals. Note that the human side of the equation is important. AI provides the map but without the tour guide, you’ll miss many of the nuances and fun facts along the journey.

The starting point for using AI is data. What data do you ask? For transfer students, that data includes students who have transferred into the school over the past couple of years and how they performed at the institution (i.e., did they persist, graduate (and in how many years), GPA, etc.). We’ve spent considerable time designing data maps and integration tools that make adopting an AI solution easier than you think, and we can help you do it.

AI Supports a Transfer Students Strategy–Both Offensively and Defensively

Here are a few quick examples of how an AI platform like the Othot Platform solves for some of the topics listed above.

1. Increasing the number of transfer students

Two concepts to consider:

  • The Platform will tell you the likelihood that a potential transfer student will enroll in your school and the highest impact action (e.g., financial aid, marketing program, engagement activity, etc.) that you could take to maximize the probability that that individual will enroll.
  • The Platform can tell you which students in the prior years’ admitted pool who enrolled at a different school had the highest fit with your institution. The Clearinghouse will tell you where they subsequently enrolled. Perhaps, due to financial concerns, distance, or lack of fit, those students may thrive at your institution.

2. Ensuring “fit” with your transfer student program

  • Because transfer students typically have post-secondary education experience, we know more about them and the Platform can tell us, based on their data points, how likely they will be to thrive at your institution. Thus, in making decisions as to whether or not to enroll these students – and at what cost to the institution – you can make a data-driven decision in terms of that student’s likelihood of achieving success at your school.

3. Playing defense

  • If the Platform has data from the past couple of years about students who transferred to other schools, then it can identify students that have high likelihoods to transfer. By “asking” the Platform to pay particular attention to variables related to potential financial concerns or distance from home, it can identify those students. Then you can work through a student’s concerns before it is too late, and they transfer for reasons that could have been addressed if you had advanced warning.

AI Helps You and the Student

This is the type of powerful knowledge gained when you use AI to help you develop an effective transfer enrollment strategy. I used the word “fit” a number of times because at the end of the analysis that is the most important aspect of AI. The Platform is looking for “fit” of the student – that’s what drives the likelihood to enroll and likelihood to have success. And in the end, that’s what’s most important – that the student finds their best-fit school and is successful.

If you’d like to learn more or want to discuss the types of data that you need to get started with an AI solution, contact us. We’d love to help.