Admissions

Survey: Admission Officers Reveal Stark Concerns about Coronavirus' Impact

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If you've been worried about the impact that the coronavirus might be having on college admissions, you're in good company — it turns out that admission officers are concerned as well.

That's the word from a new survey that EAB conducted to get a feel for how higher education's enrollment leaders are reacting to the COVID-19 outbreak. The respondents indicated that they have concerns about yielding the fall 2020 class, and the vast majority of enrollment officials are working to mitigate a drop in campus visit requests. Read on for a more detailed breakdown of how the admission officers (AOs) responded to the survey.


International Students Create An Unknown

About half of the 250 survey respondents said they aren't making specific changes to their international strategies in light of the coronavirus crisis, but many foresee issues with global student enrollment. "The most common response to international disruption is reducing yield projections," the survey report noted. Nearly 30 percent of respondents are projecting lower yields due to expectations that fewer international students will have the ability to come to US campuses in the fall.

Here's how respondents said they are dealing with the uncertainty involving international student yield concerns:

  • Admitting more domestic students to compensate for the decline in international students: 27%
  • Deferring admission for students who are from countries most affected by the coronavirus: 18%
  • Admitting more global students to mitigate melt risk: 12%
  • Pushing deposit dates further out and/or providing refunds: 7%
  • Expanding domestic student waitlists: 6%
  • Expanding international student waitlists: 4%

Mitigating Declines in Campus Visits

Many college campuses have shut down, which eliminates the option for prospective students to visit and take tours. Nearly 90 percent of survey respondents expressed concern that future college visit requests will drop. AOs are considering the following strategies to compensate for students' inability to visit campuses:

  • Adding video conferences: 62%
  • Promoting virtual tours: 54%
  • Adding social media live events: 46%
  • Increasing the number of social media live events already scheduled: 43%
  • Adding virtual tours: 26%

When it comes to admitted student days, more than half of the survey respondents indicated they are already making adjustments to those events, with some canceling, some pushing them out further and others taking them online via live-streaming.

Yield Concerns Extremely High

EAB added a question after the survey was already in progress, and as of press time, only 28 respondents had answered it -- but the early results are compelling. Of the 28 AOs who responded to a question about their yield concerns, 43 percent said they were at a "level five" out of five, while 32 percent were at a "level four."

Of course, no one can predict how long the coronavirus emergency will last, and some institutions are looking far enough ahead that they've begun creating plans to potentially offer remote learning options if some students aren't able to come to campus for the fall semester.

Resource: Check out EAB's complete report, which the firm plans to update as responses continue to arrive.

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