Industry Case Study: Powering Admissions Strategy for Higher Education

admissions strategy desks in classroom concept

Ironside’s client, a leading New England technical institute, wanted to get predictive with their admissions strategy, leveraging advanced analytics to generate projections that would have measurable impacts on the number of successful students continuing on past their freshman year. They also wanted these projections to integrate seamlessly with the admissions process, providing counselors with actionable guidance and standards for admittance.

Engagement Summary and Objectives

Ironside worked closely with the client to build out the predictive models that would most accurately address their business needs and create a unified business intelligence and advanced analytics environment serving as a one-stop shop for past, present, and future state information. Admissions counselors gained the ability both to view predictions as well as create real-time what-if predictions on a per-student basis. The result was a one-of-a-kind solution that turned predictive models into prescriptive actions to drive the university’s growth.

Ironside’s Role

Ironside completed many crucial activities as part of this engagement, including:

  • Managing all data collection and data preparation efforts
  • Feeding prepared data through advanced statistical formulas to arrive at repeatable models producing actionable recommendations
  • Linking the client’s existing business intelligence infrastructure to the new models, allowing predictive results to displace in dynamic and visually rich report formats
  • Creating real-time per-student scoring integration with existing BI reports
  • Providing access to easily interpretable courses of action leading to tangible retention increases
  • Creating a repeatable process for integrating SPSS models with Cognos BI, including live rescoring capabilities

Value Delivered

The Ironside resources assigned to the engagement helped the client realize several key benefits while crafting their admissions strategy:

  • Allowed the client to target the students most likely to stay enrolled
  • Provided easy access to methods of incentivizing targeted students to increase the likelihood of retention
  • Implemented a centralized information platform from which combined efforts across the business, admissions, and financial aid departments could be orchestrated, ensuring all stakeholders synergize efforts to present students with the most attractive offers possible
  • Enabled direct database changes to instantly reflect prescriptive recommendations
  • Began discussions around extending this style of integrated reporting and prediction to optimize financial aid planning

If you would like to see another example of how the Ironside Data Science and Analytics team is helping higher ed institutions to grow, check out our recent webinar on donor optimization.  If you’re interested in hearing more about what we can do to help your organization get predictive, please reach out. We look forward to helping you develop a mature admissions strategy.