Our Work In Practice
Fairfield University achieves record growth in applicant pool size and quality in first three years of its RHB engagement
In Fall 2019, just months before the onset of the pandemic, Fairfield University engaged with RHB to grow its applicant pool so that it could have more freedom to shape its class with students well-matched with the Connecticut Jesuit institution’s values and priorities. The years that have followed have seen a continual (and unprecedented) rise in the size and quality of Fairfield’s applicant pool, enrolling student population and net student revenue.
Located in the hypercompetitive northeast market, Fairfield University needed not only to increase its ability to shape a class—to help strengthen retention and increase net student revenue—it also wanted to carefully thread the needle of attracting more students from Jesuit high schools or who identify as Catholic while simultaneously making students from all faith backgrounds feel welcome at Fairfield.
As one of the first clients to work with RHB to bring its search in-house, Fairfield received counsel to create and successfully launch a multi-channel RHB lead and application generation campaign to inform, inspire and motivate 10th and 11th-graders through a combination of print and digital communication flows all driving toward expertly designed dynamic search portals. RHB created segmented, inclusion-minded emails and dynamic portal content that both reflected the institution’s unique position in its competitive marketplace and tied back to institutional goals and priorities. RHB also identified primary and expansion markets for name licensing as part of its strategic search counsel. Finally, RHB developed an innovative engagement scoring system to predict applicant propensity to yield, which Fairfield used to shape its admitted student pool.
In the three admission cycles since it began its work with RHB, Fairfield University has seen extraordinary success:
- Applications have increased by 23% (from 12,586 to 15,463 )
- Selectivity has dropped 11 points (from 56% to 45%)
- Yield has increased 5 points (from 16% to 21%)
- New student enrollment has grown 29%, with annual gains of 13% (in 2021, the first enrollment cycle after the COVID enrollment year), 6% and 8%.
- First-year Catholic student enrollment has increased 18% (from 733 First-year enrollment from Jesuit high schools has grown from 60 to 94 students
“I have relied on RHB to assist me and my team for nine years, and across two different schools. RHB constantly delivers best-in-class technology, analytics, creative and consulting. I can honestly say that RHB truly cares about the success of their clients. My partnership with RHB has substantially increased the bandwidth, depth, and breadth of my Division. Deeper than that, RHB takes mission seriously, and hires amazing, talented, and conscientious leaders.”
—Corry Unis, Fairfield University Vice President of Enrollment Management