Hi, it’s Paul from Collegis Education. I’m here to talk about the importance of timeliness when contacting students who have inquired about your school. How long do you think is a reasonable time to reach out to your leads? A day? A week? How about a month?

The bottom line is: When someone raises their hand, the quicker you can answer their questions, the more responsive they’ll be and the more likely they are to enroll.

For one partner, we looked at more than 30,000 inquiries over three months and found that if you contact students – not just attempt, but actually contact them – within the first 15 minutes of inquiry, 25 percent of those contacted will start. That’s one out of every four inquiries! 

After the first 15 minutes, the conversion percentages range from 8 to 16 percent during the rest of the first day. So it’s still a good time to reach out to students. But if you wait and contact them after 24 hours, that conversion number drops to 4 percent – or, about one in 20 inquiries. It’s important to still make the phone call after 24 hours, but just know that when you’re only converting at 4 percent, you’ll have to work a lot harder and contact a lot more students to get your starts.

And yes, it’s difficult to commit to a call back within 15 minutes. Most schools don’t have the staff or systems in place to achieve those results. But shoot for 24 hours, that’s achievable.

Another thing we do at Collegis is test admissions processes by submitting false inquiries for our partner schools. We help them improve their processes by identifying areas of inefficiency. 

While inquiring about one program, we were told: “The chair of that department handles admissions. Can he call you after the summer?” A different partner told us: “The entire admissions team is busy preparing for orientation.”    

So my question is this: If the whole admissions team is running an event? Or the only person tasked with calling leads is gone for the summer, who is calling the student? 

This time of year, many admissions teams are busy visiting high schools and building their brand. That’s awesome. They should be doing that. But don’t waste the leads you’re gaining by not reaching out in a timely manner.

Here’s my suggestion for leadership: If you’re wondering where you stand or how efficient your admissions process is, submit an inquiry. How quickly does your admissions team contact you? How useful is the information once they do? I think you’ll find there is room for improvement.

Thanks for listening!