If you’re involved in college or university admissions, you know that stealth applicants are a challenge. Stealth applicants are students who apply to your school without first expressing an interest. They appear out of the blue  — and with the internet, it’s easy for students to find the information they want without contacting your recruiting and admissions team.

Why is this important?

Stealth applicants make admissions and recruitment planning more difficult. Projecting your intake for the year is tough without knowing how many prospects you have, and it’s almost impossible to react quickly if you find a particular program’s enrollment is thin.

Are stealth applicants on the rise?

At The SchoolFinder Group, we track requests made to our partner colleges and universities via our LeadMatch™ system. Over the last academic year (September 1, 2018 – August 31, 2019), we had a record 34,051 students make 123,727 requests, for an average of 3.63 schools per student. While this is great news, the average is 13% lower than the previous year. In fact, it’s the lowest in seven years.

Indeed, Ruffalo Noel Levitz’s recent study, “2019 Recruitment and Yield Rate Benchmarks for Four-Year Institutions,” found that 1 in 3 applicants to private four-year U.S. colleges are stealth applications — 1 in 5 for public colleges.

How has this happened?

There are two big factors at play: first, school information is so easily accessible on the internet that many students don’t feel the need to communicate with a school before applying. Second, common application services bypass individual schools, again meaning that students don’t need to interact directly until after the application has been submitted.

In short, prospective student behaviour has changed; students want to interact with schools on their terms, at their own convenience. In order to reach this elusive audience, schools need to adapt their recruitment strategies.

What can you do about this?

  • Your website | Ensure your website is up to date. One study indicated that over 50% of students used university websites as their only source for information when researching schools. Make sure the content on your site is current — and sending the right message.
  • Ease of connection | Once students are on your website, make it easy for them to connect. Use short online contact forms and try a chatbot.
  • Incentivize connections | Encourage students to make connections with contests, open houses with gift bags, and other fun programs.
  • Third-party platforms | Stealth applicants only make themselves known when they apply, but that doesn’t mean they don’t do their research. You can find them browsing third-party education platforms such SchoolFinder.com, StudyinCanada.com and ScholarshipsCanada.com. Use these platforms to get your message out.
  • Social media | As with third-party platforms, social media offers additional channels, like direct messaging, to reach students.

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About The SchoolFinder Group

By making education more accessible, we’re making the world a better place.

Education for everyone. This is our mission.

The SchoolFinder Group has been helping students find schools, scholarships and careers, and organizations find students, since 1995. Through our comprehensive platform comprised of SchoolFinder, ScholarshipsCanada, StudyinCanada and ezRecruit™, we provide students and organizations with the resources and tools to succeed.

From school and program information, to careers, events and scholarships, we are the leading digital resource for students in Canada.

Our passion for helping students has allowed us to develop a strong community of over 1 million students, parents and counsellors. With over 20 years of industry experience working with hundreds of organizations worldwide, we are the experts in online marketing and recruitment.

Partnerships with leading education publications, industry associations and the higher education community allow us to spread our message across Canada and around the world.

Learn More About Our Solutions

  • School Marketing
  • LeadMatch™ Prospective Student Lead Generation
  • Scholarship Marketing
  • Scholarship Application Management
  • ezRecruit™ CRM and Application Management
  • Company Student Recruitment

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