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Career college admissions departments are facing more recruiting challenges today than perhaps ever before. According to a recent study conducted by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, enrollment among two-year educational institutions, including career colleges, decreased by 3.9%1 in 2015. This is likely why 36% of career colleges asked said that enrollment is their primary concern.

In addition, many career school admissions counselors today are expected to perform at a higher level, with less available resources. This situation has led them to look for effective solutions, such as CRM software, to help break down these obstacles.

Challenges Facing Career College Admissions Personnel

The first step is to identify specific challenges. Below are the top obstacles that career college admissions personnel struggle with today.

  • Personalization -- Today's inquiries want to feel connected to the school they choose, and they have come to expect customized services and personalized solutions. For example, inquiries want to know the details about their specific training program and what is available for them after graduation. Career college admissions personnel must advance further than just simple communication; they must foster engagements and build relationships.
  • Student Debt -- The rising concerns about student debt is a major obstacle facing many higher education admission personnel. While the admissions department doesn't have any control of tuition fees or student loans, they can help educate applicants and help them utilize available resources.
  • Gainful Employment Regulations -- The new Gainful Employment2 regulations have placed a higher burden on career college recruiters. Now, they must find ways to predict their student population's program completion and post-graduate success.

Effective CRM Solutions

To overcome these obstacles, many career colleges are integrating CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software into their recruiting strategies. CRM software provides a unified system for tracking applicants throughout the student lifecycle, which includes the recruitment, retention and post-graduate phase. When selecting a CRM system for your career school, look for these key features:

  • Personalized Communication -- You want a CRM system that allows for multi-channel communication, which will let your admissions team correspond with prospective students through a variety of mediums, including email, social media, text messaging, online self-service programs and by phone. This system should track all types of communication in one convenient location to enhance communications with potential students and help cultivate relationships.
  • Automated Workflow -- Your CRM program should streamline a majority of tasks within the admissions department and make them easier to handle. An automated workflow system will allow your team, as well as other departments within the career college, to work seamlessly together to provide customized solutions for the applicant. For example, with an automated workflow system, you can schedule an email or text message reminder to go out to all students who have not completed their FASFA or other important financial aid paperwork, days before the deadline.
  • Tracking and Data Analysis -- A CRM system that tracks data and provides analytical results is a must-have for all career colleges. This system will give you hard data to track the success of your admissions process or to identify areas for improvement. It can also track students throughout their educational and post-graduation career. Such invaluable data can help identify predictors throughout the recruitment, retention and career development cycle, which can ensure your school meets, or exceed, Gainful Employment regulations.

CRM software gives career school admissions counselors the power to break down many of the obstacles they face in an effort to improve enrollment rates. Make sure you select a CRM system that has the necessary features to implement it successfully throughout multiple departments within the career college. Many CRM service companies offer a free glimpse into their software's capabilities, so you can see for yourself everything it has to offer before making a final decision.

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Resources: (1) Inside HigherEd (2)  DOE Gainful Employment