How to Battle Dropped Applications with Digital Marketing

high school student finishing dropped applications

For some institutions, dropped applications represent an opportunity to inflate their student applicant numbers and give the impression of a lower acceptance rate and more exclusivity. It’s a numbers game where incomplete applications make it look as if more students applied than actually did. But if your goal is to have actual enrolled students and not manipulated numbers, those dropped applications are a bane to your admissions team and a frustrating problem that’s difficult to solve.

But Digital Marketing can help!

Here’s how to make inroads against dropped applications:

Identify The Why

The back-end data from your online application will tell you that one was started but not completed. But it won’t tell you how come. Using the data you have, create an email campaign with a narrow, personalized focus that asks the potential student what caused them to stop midway through. Rather than frustrate your admissions staff by having them chase down the missing pieces of an application like transcripts, recommendations and test scores, first find out whether the stop was intentional. If the student has committed to another institution, there’s no need to pursue them further. Sure, you can still remind them why your college is great—in case they discover by second semester that they chose incorrectly—but have your admissions team exert effort where it’s most likely to yield results.


Create a Reminder Campaign

As deadlines loom, use social media to let potential students know that they’re running out of time. Maybe they’ve totally lost track of the date.  Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great platforms to communicate application, FAFSA and test score deadlines. Depending on the programs you want to promote, you may also want to communicate on LinkedIn. In fact, even if you’re targeting juniors and seniors in high school, you can use LinkedIn to remind parents. They may think junior crossed all his Ts, dotted all his Is, but did he?


Remarket to Your Almost Applicants

They’ve expressed more than a passing interest in your institution. They applied—almost. And you have more information about them than casual website browsers. Leverage what you know and target them with ads that hit upon what might be holding them back. Maybe they’re from a tiny town and your institution is huge. But doesn’t it also have plenty of programs, majors, clubs and associations designed to make students feel welcome and at home? Let them know. Or maybe they’re not sure if they can afford the steep tuition. Remind them of all the aid you give and how few students pay full sticker price. The important piece of a successful remarketing campaign is to follow potential students as they roam the internet and provide them with reminders and messages that will resonate.


If you’d like to get a handle on dropped applications, we can help. The above strategies are a great place to start but digital marketing can help increase applicants and enrollments in other ways, as well. Contact the experts at ESM Digital to find out how.


~Linda Emma