How To Create a Strategic Enrollment Management Plan

How To Create a Strategic Enrollment Management Plan

March 21, 2023 / blog / Comments (0)

Why do we need a strategic Enrollment Management Plan? While it should be enough for school’s to offer top-notch educational experiences and outcomes, in today’s world that often isn’t enough to retain their student. Parents are expect more for their children which puts more pressure on Private schools to have a steady flow of new leads. School’s today need a proper comprehensive strategic enrollment management (SEM) plan to ensure and have a flow of enrollment inquiries. But what is an SEM plan? And how do you create one? These are the questions that The School Agency will be answering in this article.

What Is a Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) Plan?

A strategic enrollment management (SEM) plan is a tool that educational institutions use to identify, recruit, enroll, retain, and graduate students. This plan is designed to develop an enrollment strategy that aligns with the school’s mission, objectives, and long-term goals.


Although strategic enrollment management planning is originated in the world of higher education, it’s still a useful tool for private primary and secondary schools. It’s an effective way to plan and track the school’s recruitment, enrollment, and retention efforts while also identifying areas where more attention is needed.


To summarize—a strategic enrollment management plan is an effective tool for schools to create a comprehensive strategy for their recruitment, enrollment, and retention efforts.

Contents of an SEM Plan

The components of a SEM plan vary from school to school, but there are some essential elements that every plan should contain:


  • Analytics: The SEM plan should also include an analysis of current students—including demographics, retention rates, and graduation rates—that will inform the school’s future enrollment strategies.
  • OKRs: No SEM plan is complete without specific, measurable goals. A school’s OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) will serve as the guiding force behind its enrollment strategies.
  • Marketing Plan: An SEM plan should include a specific marketing plan for targeting prospective students and their families. This should include personas, messaging strategies, tactics, media channels, budgeting, and analytics.
  • Retention Plan: A school’s retention plan should be part of its SEM plan in order to ensure that students stay enrolled and eventually graduate. This should include initiatives such as student engagement activities, academic support services, and professional development opportunities for faculty and staff.
  • Budget: The budget should be tailored to the school’s individual goals and objectives. It should cover all aspects of the SEM plan, including marketing efforts, retention activities, and student services.

Who Is Responsible for a Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) Plan?

SEM plans (and SEM planning in general) should be led by the school’s leadership. This typically includes a team of high-level administrators, such as the head of school and the head of enrollment or admissions.


Beyond that, creating a SEM plan typically requires input (i.e., data, expertise, and/or oversight) from multiple different departments, including:


  • Marketing
  • Accounting & Financial Aid
  • Admissions
  • Teaching & Learning
  • Student Services
  • Human Resources


strategic enrollment management plan

How To Create a Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) Plan 

Creating an effective SEM plan requires the school’s leadership to identify and implement strategies that will enable them to achieve their long-term enrollment goals.


Here are five steps to help you get started on your SEM plan:


  • Collect and Analyze Data for Benchmarking
  • Set Enrollment OKRs
  • Delegate Ownership of the SEM Plan
  • Create an Outline for Your SEM Plan
  • Create an Action Plan
  • Track and Evaluate Progress


Now, let’s take a look at each step in more detail.

1. Collect and Analyze Data for Benchmarking

The first step of creating a SEM plan is to collect and analyze data related to the current state of enrollment and retention at your school. This data should include information on current and prospective students (e.g., demographics, graduation rates, retention rates, etc.), as well as historical data from previous years.


It should also include data about the organization as a whole (e.g., financials, budgeting, resources, staff/faculty, etc.). This data will help you identify trends and areas of opportunity that can inform your strategy.


This data will be used to create a “baseline” against which targets can be set and progress can be measured.

2. Set Enrollment and Retention OKRs

Once the baseline data has been collected and analyzed, schools can then set their enrollment and retention OKRs (Objectives and Key Results).


OKRs are a goal-setting framework that helps to identify specific, measurable objectives and the key results that need to be achieved in order for those objectives to be met. They consist of three core elements:


  1. Objectives: The goal you want to achieve (e.g., increase website traffic).
  2. Initiatives:  The actionable steps you will take to achieve that goal (e.g., create content, optimize website).
  3. Key Results: Measurable targets that show progress towards the objective (e.g., 10% increase in website traffic).


When setting OKRs, it’s important to make sure they are realistic and attainable so that progress can actually be made.

3. Delegate Ownership of the SEM Plan 

Once the goals and initiatives are set, it’s time to delegate ownership of the strategic enrollment management plan. This means identifying who within the organization will be responsible for managing the creation of the SEM plan.


Usually, this will be a team of high-level administrators—possibly including the head of school and the head of enrollment or admissions—as well as representatives from other departments (e.g., marketing, financial aid, and so on.

4. Create an Outline for Your SEM Plan 

Once ownership is established, the team can begin to create an outline for the strategic enrollment management plan. This should include sections on:


  • Analytics
  • OKRs
  • Marketing
  • Retention
  • Budget

5. Create an Action Plan 

Once you’ve created your outline, you can begin creating a plan for the creation of your SEM plan. Yes, creating a plan for the creation of a plan may seem like overkill, but this is an essential step!


This action plan should include tasks and milestones for each of the plan’s components, as well as deadlines for completion. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and making progress towards the goal.

6. Track and Evaluate Progress of the Enrollment Plan

Once the plan is created, you can then begin tracking and evaluating progress. This includes collecting data on enrollments, retention rates, marketing efforts, and so on.


By tracking progress, you can identify areas that need to be tweaked or adjusted in order to meet your goals. This is an ongoing process, but it’s essential for ensuring success.


Finally, it’s important to remember that creating a successful SEM plan requires collaboration and communication between departments, teams, and individuals. Everyone should be aware of the goals, initiatives, and progress that are being made in order to ensure that the plan is successful.

SEM Plan Template

Get Control of Your Enrollment With the UAE’s Leading School Marketing Agency

At The School Agency, we understand how challenging it can be to create and manage a successful enrollment management plan. That’s why we specialize in providing guidance, resources, and support every step of the way—from creating an effective data-driven strategy to tracking results and evaluating progress.


We have years of experience working with schools in the UAE, so we’re well-versed in the challenges and opportunities that exist within the local market. We can help you create an enrollment management plan that aligns with your school’s unique needs, ensuring success as you work towards boosting enrollment and retention.


To find out more about how we can help you get control of your enrollment, contact us today!


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