A Guide to Admissions & Strategy in the times of COVID -19 (Coronavirus)

by Abhishek Ballabh | Jun 16, 2022 | ExtraaEdge’s Blog

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”

― Leon C. Megginson

The coronavirus pandemic ( COVID-19 ) is the perfect example of a Black Swan event. It’s a global pandemic event that comes as an absolute surprise & has a major effect on how we live & work.
The pandemic has forced people around the world to give up their daily lives and limit themselves to their homes. Such a drastic change in behaviour has obviously had an impact on education institutes & moreover the admission teams everywhere, including in India where teams are forced to work from home. However, this impact is not just limited to the teams but millions of prospect students along with their parents for the maybe 1st time in the history of recent times are together at home.
Of course, this goes beyond just adjusting to new admissions strategy — it’s also about finding new ways to connect with prospect students, reviewing outbound admissions strategies and approaching prospects and course seekers in a more responsible manner.

We at ExtraaEdge have been in the last week speaking to more than 100+ admission teams on what challenges they are facing & what can we do as the leading “Admissions & Marketing Automation CRM” technology provider to ease the pain. Here are our key takeaways :

The New Admissions Behavioural Model

The new Admissions Behavioural Model

So basically there are 3 waves at play when it comes to Admissions during the times of COVID 19 :

  1. SEARCH FROM HOME : Students & Parents are looking for courses from home. Lets call it Search for Home
  2. INSIDE SALES TEAMS : Admissions teams have moved to a pure Inside Sales model.
  3. DELAYED ADMISSION CYCLE : The Admissions Cycle will get delayed as all board exams, entrances, UG/PG timelines both for exams & results will get pushed.
In a nutshell the Admission Teams need to understand that their Admission cycle just got extended

SEARCHES FROM HOME : The new prospect behaviour

The new Student Behavioural Model
The following trends we foresee will impact a new trend in a prospect admission activities :
  1. More Google & Organic searches
  2. Website & Landing Page traffic goes up
  3. Students will be looking for multiple & online course options
  4. Delivery of Online courses combined with a new online payment behaviour will emerge
  5. Short term courses will be popular offering certifications
  6. Prospects & Parents will directly call or engage with a conversational bot to get information & enroll
A new SEARCH FOR HOME ( SFH ) will be the new normal course discovery which will emerge replacing feet-on-the street outbound model

ADMISSION TEAMS FROM HOME : The new inside sales admission model

The new Admission Behavioural Model
The following trends we foresee will impact a new trend for the admission teams :
  1. Phone calls & Telephony driven by smartphone technology stack will be super critical
  2. Drip Marketing will become the norm to outreach via email & SMS
  3. Powerful Education CRM will become the backbone of admissions
  4. Every institute will need to have a WhatsApp strategy
  5. The spent on Adwords, FB ads will increase as a function of increased social time utilisation
  6. Payment gateway, mobile friendly website, online application form along with payment gateways are new mandates.
  7. Conversational Platforms will be the new way to interact with the new prospects
A new Technology Stack will be needed for the new work for home admissions teams, few trends e.g. powerful CRMs will be here to stay even post COVID 19 subsides
The new Technology Stack for Admission Teams

DELAYED ADMISSION CYCLE : Entrance, Boards & UG/PG gets pushed

The government and education authorities have been postponing examinations. Now, JEE, NEET, CBSE, ICSE and even UG/PG examinations have been delayed.
Exams postponed

News Sources: NDTV, Economic times, aglasem.com

The cycle delays mean that each admissions activity which had a pre-requisite for these examinations will move their timelines by 3-4 months by default. More time is not always bad, it gives the brands opportunity to engage digitally with a population sitting at home with a broadband connection.

The education marketing & outreach teams will get more time & bandwidth to engage with their prospects. An unique opportunity to strengthen their online brand & sensitise the 21st century learners

Closing Thoughts

You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.

Rahm Emanuel

These are strange times & require different admission strategies to navigate. The biggest upside of working from home for many is that they save on commuting time and costs. Many claim to be using these extra hours to finally achieve work-life balance, learn new skills and others said this has even reduced stress levels in employees. There are also claims of more focussed and productive work schedules. But, are these advantages enough to make remote workforce the normal work culture?
Maybe not, but admission teams need to adopt as time are changing. Some of these changes will linger on e.g. digital driven teams, video counseling, CRM adoption at scale. Conversational Bot platforms to name a few post COVID 19 too.
And in our opinion these strange times of crisis gives rise to new admission behavioural shifts which will be really productive for the long run.
About Author:

Abhishek Ballabh, Co-founder, ExtraaEdge Technology Solutions – a software technology firm that helps educational institutes to increase, manage & predict admissions. He has worked with MindTickle Inc and HSBC GLT in different avatars as a data architect, full-stack programmer, quant & product manager in the past. He’s also a SLP Fellow. He is innately curious by nature, voracious reader, avid trekker & a work-in-progress blogger. Passionate, Empathetic, Ambitious & Driven are the words that describe him the best.