Make Better Use of Your Admissions Data: Strategy #5 Think Holistically

In our final suggestion from our most recent eBook, Embrace Your Inner Geek: 5 Strategies for Making Better Use of Your Admissions Data, we take a look at how to work across silos for better intelligence.

Enrollment data doesn’t exist in a silo. Information about enrollment trends informs some of the most critical questions campus leaders need to answer to advance the mission of their institutions. Your data informs decisions about program growth, faculty allocation, capital improvements, and more. Too often though, a lack of common data standards across schools and programs hinders an institution-wide perspective—and that can have devastating effects for your school’s viability.


Develop common standards and processes that support cross-institutional insight.


Establish common data standards for enrollment. How schools and programs define terms can vary widely. An applicant to the nursing program may be defined as someone who has submitted an application, while an applicant to the law school is defined as someone who has made a non-refundable tuition deposit. Without a common standard, understanding what should be a simple metric—the number of students applying to the institution—is simply out of reach. In addition to the Common Data Set Initiative, look at how the standards group CEDS defines terms.

Determine a common platform for admissions management. Look across the enrollment landscape on your campus and you will likely find as many systems for recruiting students as there are schools and programs admitting them. Each of those systems houses valuable data, but without a way to transform that data into actionable insight, you are likely relying on stale reports that are answering yesterday’s questions, rather than predicting tomorrow’s trends. Find a platform that is flexible enough to accommodate a range of admissions processes—without locking you into someone else’s idea of admissions excellence.

Retain what is unique about your identity. How you recruit and admit prospective students is key to your brand: as a program, as a school, and as an institution. In most cases, recruiting outreach is the first contact your institution has with a student and the impact of that outreach is far-reaching. Data management tools should deepen that relationship, not put it at risk. Look for tools that give you the flexibility to manage business school admissions differently from nursing school admissions—without sacrificing the ability to understand the performance of both.


Finding ways to deliver a truly holistic view of your enrollment data doesn’t mean sacrificing what makes each of your schools and programs unique. It does mean that campus leaders will look to you for strategic advice when they need to answer tough questions—and you’ll have the answers.

Please feel free to download the full copy of Embrace Your Inner Geek: 5 Strategies for Making Better Use of Your Admissions Data and let us know your thoughts!