The Future of Big Data in Enrollment


Just over a decade ago when I was researching colleges, I had a stack of glossy paper brochures to browse through, given to me by a real live person hired to help me figure out what schools were right for me. When I was applying, I stuffed separate envelopes with unique applications for each school. When I was accepted (or rejected), I received a thick (or disappointingly thin) envelope in the mail. 

In just a few short years, technology has changed almost every aspect of the college admissions process. Prospective students are now able to apply to more colleges than ever with the Common App; they can forgo the physical campus visit for a virtual tour from home; they receive and share admissions decisions through social media platforms.

The Atlantic just posted a great article entitled "What Is the Future of College Marketing?" that addresses the ways that schools are shifting "from demographics to psychographics in recruiting prospective students" in order to better asses the fit of potential students. Schools can choose to embrace these shifts and capitalize on the increase in applications, or be passed over for schools that do. There is, it seems, no real middle ground.