Yield season will begin in mid-February when we release our decisions, and run through May 1. We put together a list of five things to consider given the uniqueness of our cycle due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Personalized Approach
Yield is the time to get more personalized with students since we know more about them. For example, we have an address for every admitted student. We also know what college they belong to. This information can help us craft better communications and responses to our admitted students, and we need to take advantage of this opportunity. Especially this year.
The students this year haven’t had the opportunity to visit campus and interact with us. It’s safe to assume, like many of us, they’re craving real contact and reassurance. You can help provide that by offering one-on-one appointments, virtual info sessions (as discussed below), and by giving each student as much personalized attention as possible.
2. A La Carte Info Sessions
We’re still unsure what Spring will allow in terms of in-person visits, so we’re taking a proactive approach in setting up virtual info sessions. There will be three different types of info sessions available, and students will be able to select which ones to attend based on an a la carte approach.
Admissions Info Sessions
The Office of Undergraduate Admissions will offer info sessions specifically designed for admitted students every weekday at 4pm. These sessions will talk broadly about the benefits of UIUC and next steps toward completing enrollment, along with offering a student panel and time for questions.
Academic Info Sessions
Colleges and other academic units are encouraged to host info sessions detailing benefits of their specific communities and addressing frequently asked questions. This allows students to get familiar with their college or department and receive more personalized academic information.
Non-Academic Unit Info Sessions
Non-academic units now have the opportunity to host info sessions as well, offering a way to engage with students more easily and increase involvement. This is a great way for our campus to showcase the many different options available to students.
If you’re interested in hosting an info session (which can be as long and as often as you prefer), we ask that you submit our intake form by January 15. This will allow us to get the sessions coordinated through our CRM and offered through a consolidated registration process.
3. Direct Mail
Budgets have taken a hit, but if you can swing it you should send something special to your admits. On the top of the list is some good old swag. A t-shirt? A poster? An Illini flag? These are all fun options and there are some interesting ways to offer students the opportunity to order. This means you can send items only to students that are interested.
Booklets and magazines can also be fun for students to get, as long as they’re fun. Do whatever you can to delight your students through this challenging time. It will help our overall brand and our efforts to yield.
4. COVID Timeline
Keep in mind that everything is “off” this year, especially timelines. Students will most likely accept their offers as late as possible and still keep options open throughout summer. Hopefully things will be more stable than last year, but so far the COVID timeline is still in full effect.
What does this mean for you? It means that yield season is really part one in a two-part effort. Melt season, from May 1 through the first day of Fall class, becomes just as important for engaging students and showcasing the benefits of UIUC. Fortunately, New Student Registration presents opportunities for all of us to engage throughout the summer.
5. Landing Pages
Since students are turning online for almost everything right now, it’s critical that you create effective landing pages for your admitted students. These are pages that collect all your relevant content in one easy-to-find location. Note that phrase: easy to find. These pages should be front and center on your websites so students know you want them at UIUC. Here’s an example on the Admissions site.
Do you have stories of the amazing things happening in your unit? Do you have professors featured online? Do you have info sessions to promote? How about basic contact information? It doesn’t take much to create a user-friendly landing page for admits.
Each of us plays a different role in bringing in the class, but we all contribute. We all make a difference. If you have questions or ideas, please don’t hesitate to reach out to someone in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions or within the Office of Communications for Enrollment Management. Together we’ll bring in another amazing class!