The Dysfunctional Funnel Analogy

The Dysfunctional Funnel Analogy

The admission funnel is a time-honored concept that has been taught to admission counselors for decades but is still often misunderstood, and the implications of misunderstanding it can be expensive and misleading. Unlike the funnel you might use to change your oil or prepare something in your kitchen, everything you pour in the top of the admission funnel doesn't come out the bottom. 

As we gather and review fall 2010 new student enrollment results for NACCAP we see vivid illustrations of the misleading nature of the funnel for institutions that made significant investments in direct mail and other "top of the funnel" strategies where the final new student number is either flat or only slightly higher. 

There are several important principles at work here to help avoid the funnel dysfunction:

  • Make sure your systems for dealing with increased top level funnel traffic are strong and smooth
  • Make sure your admission team is armed with some sort of predictive modeling system to help them prioritize their work
  • Remember to have the end goal in mind when making your "offer" to generate inquiry responses from direct mail - the point is not to generate more inquiries, the point is to enroll more students.  Adding more unqualified inquiries may only serve to clog your systems and overwhelm your staff (and create a false sense of hope for fall enrollment)

Tim Fuller Senior Consultant


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