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Leveraging Star Ratings to Drive Non-Traditional Student Enrollment

The following is an excerpt from a recently published white paper developed in collaboration between Expirically and Destiny Solutions. “Build it and they will come” is no longer an effective approach to driving enrollments. Today’s learners are experienced shoppers of all ages looking for specific, high-quality offerings that will help them achieve their specific outcome goals. They also know they have choice, with the ability to register at any postsecondary institution in their region or even country.

This modern customer requires colleges and universities—and especially divisions serving non-traditional learners—to revamp their approach to the market. Today, it’s essential for institutions to transform their websites into enrollment engines designed to turn prospects into registered learners.

Accomplishing such an outcome requires institutions to follow the lead of Amazon, GrubHub, Uber and other eCommerce giants. And one of the most important tools these organizations leverage to build trust are verified customer reviews and ratings.

Understanding the Modern Postsecondary Shopper

The modern postsecondary customer is an experienced and savvy shopper who brings the same critical eye to finding the right college or university program that they do to buying a car or a new technology tool. The old approaches to gaining their attention and enrollments—like on-site
events and physical coursebooks—are not effective for this audience in isolation.

Today’s learner—especially those seeking out continuing and online education programming—is considered a “stealth applicant.” Rather than requesting institutional information, speaking to recruiters and attending information sessions, stealth applicants research programs independently and move themselves down the enrollment pipeline.

This means colleges generally don’t know how many individuals are actually in their pipeline as individuals are driving their own purchasing decisions. Essentially, a college only engages with a stealth applicant when they’re ready (or almost ready) to make a purchasing decision.

Digital resources are essential to helping stealth applicants find and research offerings. According to Google, 86% of adult learners who plan to enroll in a postsecondary program within 12 months
found digital resources critical to their decision-making process. What’s more, the majority of students (between 56% and 78% of prospective learners) don’t search for specific schools’ websites;
they search for programs and degrees first. This means institutional websites and program pages need to provide learners with as much information as possible, be SEO-optimized, and be specifically designed to rank well and stand out on Google and other search engines.

Click here to download the full white-paper and learn more about the partnership and integration between Expirically and Destiny Solutions.


See how your institution can leverage ratings and reviews to improve search rankings and increase enrollment by differentiating your courses, programs and degrees.

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