The following blog post is a summary of a market research project conducted recently by Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) – a market research firm in Upstate NY.

Background: A college was interested in learning the degree to which its inquiry and enrollment process for continuing education students was a barrier to their enrollment growth. (It should be noted that this project was an outgrowth of a strategic planning project that RMS had worked on in a consultant/facilitator role with the college.) The ultimate objective of the project was to identify weaknesses in the process and seek input from students and staff on how it might be improved.

Methodology: The research project consisted of four components: 1. A telephone survey conducted among people who had made inquiries to the college but never ultimately enrolled; 2. In‐depth interviews with current students who had recently gone through the enrollment process; 3. In‐depth interviews with enrollment staff; and 4. The formulation of an enrollment “dashboard,” which incorporated institutional and other data as a way to monitor and manage the enrollment process each semester.

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Results: The college gained key insights as to how various aspects of its process were perceived by prospective students and staff and also learned perceptions about key competitors in the marketplace, program delivery preferences and the key drivers that influence a person’s decision to pursue a part-time degree. Additionally, the effectiveness of some recent promotions were measured to see how well they had resonated with their target audiences. Based on these actionable findings, RMS was able to formulate recommendations for process improvements. The implementation of these improvements is currently being tested through an enrollment mystery shopping project administered by RMS.

If you are interested in enrollment research or need a strategic consultant to help your college or university – contact RMS. Our Business Development Director, Sandy Baker, can be reached at or by calling 315-635-9802.