Stages of a Cycle
Here are the key points throughout a cycle:
- Application opens
- Priority admission deadline
- Regular admission deadline (application closes)
- Admission notification (decisions are released)
- Accept deadline
- New student registration
- Students begin classes
- Tenth day of classes (official enrollment numbers are released)
Key Dates & Deadlines
The undergraduate application cycle starts when the application for admission becomes available, which is typically September 1. The cycle ends with the deadline for students to accept their offers of admission, which is typically May 1. Although these two dates rarely change from year to year, some of the other deadlines within the cycle do.
Recruitment season is typically defined as the period when the application for admission is available, which is essentially fall (September through December). However, student recruitment happens all year, since many students actively start their college search in the spring of their junior year.
Recruitment is about relationship building, so the earlier we can begin that relationship with a student, the better. This means recruitment is not restricted to seniors or even juniors. Our aim is to begin the recruitment process with high school freshmen, sophomores, or even K-8 students, although there are laws in place regarding communication with students under the age of 13.
Yield season begins the moment students are admitted and lasts until the accept deadline. When we have only one decision notification date, yield season can be quite short, only eight to ten weeks in some cases.
Students typically apply to multiple schools, so in many cases they’re still weighing options after they’ve been admitted. That’s why it’s important to have strong yield marketing and communications plans. At this stage, we should be communicating at a very granular level since we know a lot about each student.
Cycle Planning & Production
Planning for the admissions cycle runs parallel with the cycle itself, since a cycle runs about 12 months. We start planning just after the tenth day of classes, which is also around the time when the application opens. For example, the 2022 cycle begins when the application opens on September 1, 2021. Planning for the 2023 cycle begins 10 days after classes start in the fall of 2021. So, planning for the 2023 cycle runs parallel with the 2022 cycle.
Planning takes place mostly in the fall, while asset production begins as early as January in anticipation for the start of the cycle on September 1. Occasionally, larger projects can begin production further in advance.