December 8, 2023

You may be familiar with the RNL Student Satisfaction Inventory™ (SSI) as an assessment tool that has a positive impact on student success, as well as giving students a voice for strategic planning and documenting improvement for accreditation purposes. But have you considered the collected data points that may also be valuable from a recruiting perspective?

Institutional choice

In addition to collecting student demographics such as grade level, enrollment status, race/ethnicity, etc., SSI also asks students to indicate whether they are attending their first, second, or third institution. Responses across institution types from the 2022 National Report on Student Satisfaction and Priorities (released this fall and reflecting data from fall 2019 through spring 2022) show this breakdown for institutional selection:

Percentage of students at first choice institution

Why is it important to watch this? Well, we know that students who attend their first-choice institution tend to have higher overall student satisfaction.

Satisfaction levels by institutional selection

This chart shows that students who reported attending their first-choice institution had the highest levels of satisfaction or high satisfaction with their overall experience compared to students who perceived themselves as attending their second- or third-choice institution.

Does your marketing and admissions team rate your institution as a first-choice institution? Are you working to attract students who actually want to attend your college? Do you know how students perceive you during the admissions process? Are you highlighting the voices of currently enrolled students on why your college is the best fit, the best choice, the best value? We know that by attracting students who are more likely to be satisfied with their experience, you also put yourself in a position to retain and graduate those more satisfied students, so this is an important factor in student and institutional success.

Enrollment factors

Another valuable data point collected at SSI that can be used for admissions/marketing is how important various enrollment factors were in students’ enrollment decisions. This data can inform the message you want to convey in your recruitment materials and help you think about whether the factors align with your current position at the institution.

Here are the factors listed by students at four-year private, four-year public and community colleges.

Enrollment factors: 4 years private
Factors for registration: 4 years public
Enrollment Factors: Community Colleges

For all three types of institutions, cost and financial aid are the main factors, so it’s important to be intentional about your financial aid processes and positioning your institution’s costs as an investment in a student’s future. This is a message that can be targeted at both the student and the families of prospective (and current) students. It is interesting how perceived academic reputation is ranked third for all three types of institutions. This provides the potential to better position the academic experience students can expect at your institution, including the knowledge and experience of your faculty, the quality of your academic programs, access to coursework to meet graduation requirements on time, and outcomes. your graduates with a degree from your institution. When academic reputation is more highly valued, it can positively affect overall student satisfaction with choosing your institution.

Sharing of Institutional Selection and Enrollment Factor Data

If you already regularly assess student satisfaction, be sure to share this data with enrollment leaders and others responsible for recruiting students to your institution.

If you are not already recording student feedback data, you may want to invite enrollment management to support the effort to administer satisfaction surveys on your campus, perhaps even contributing to the investment with their budget allocation. You can make a case for why it’s valuable to have these data points along with identified institutional strengths that can attract new students to the college who appreciate what your students say they’re already doing well with up-to-date information from the Inventory student satisfaction.

We can also help you discuss how to share your data and act on the findings. Contact us and we will arrange a time for a free consultation.

Free consultation to assess student satisfaction

Talk to our satisfaction experts about how you can easily implement a survey on your campus, including when is the best time to survey and how to achieve high completion rates.

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