ACT® | NRCCUA® Unveils New Insights into how College-Bound Seniors Make Enrollment Decisions

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Based on Eduventures® Annual Survey of Admitted Students™, Research Highlights Nine National Benchmarks to Inform Yield Strategy

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"Our Survey of Admitted Students helps institutions to understand the nature of important perception gaps and to develop strategies for addressing these gaps. Our new benchmark research goes further by helping institutions accurately measure themselves against regional and national competitors."

ACT | NRCCUA, an educational data science and research organization, announced today the publication of Eduventures’ 2019 Benchmarks for Admitted Students report. This research uses data from the Eduventures Survey of Admitted Students to understand student decision-making around college choices. Eduventures is the research division of NRCCUA.

Bringing Student Enrollment Drivers into Sharper Focus

This new report is designed as a “how to” guide to enable enrollment offices to measure their performance on yield and take specific action. It is a complementary report to the recently-published piece Enrollment Driver Analysis: How Admitted Students’ Perceptions Shape the Enrollment Choice, which examines both stated and latent factors influencing a student’s enrollment choice vs. the next alternative institution. The benchmarks included in this new body of research provide a deeper dive into Eduventures Survey of Admitted Students and includes regional and national data. A set of questions is included with each benchmark, providing enrollment leaders with a way to contextualize findings based on their specific datasets.

The Nine National Benchmarks for Admitted Students unveiled in this report include the following:

1. Admitted Student Mindsets™: This benchmark includes the percentage of enrolling students who belong to each of Eduventures’ six behavioral and attitudinal Admitted Student Mindsets (Mindsets): Experiential Interest, Career Pragmatists, Social Focus, Exploration & Meaning, Career through Academics and Grad School Bound.

2. Decision Segments: This benchmark represents the percentage of students identifying the most important single factor in their enrollment decisions among the top eight: Affordability, Reputation, Feeling of Fit, Quality of Program, Value for Money, Career Outcomes, Sense of Community, and Proximity to Home.

3. First Choice: This benchmark measures the number of enrolling students who choose a particular institution as their first choice destination.

4. Destination: This benchmark shows where non-enrolling students are attending school, segmented by control, Carnegie classification, and in-state vs. out-of-state status for public destinations.

5. Distance: This benchmark measures the mileage between an enrolling students’ home zip codes and location of the institution in which they enrolled.

6. Brand Constructs: This benchmark shows student ratings on 10 aggregated brand constructs, including: Friendly/Comfortable/Community, High Quality/Challenging/Intelligent, Well-Rounded, Fun/Exciting, Career-Minded, Spirit School/Athletics, Prestige/Rigor, Affordable/Value, Diverse or Well-Known.

7. Quality Perception Gap: This benchmark measures the gap between enrolling and non-enrolling students on perceptions of quality for key enrollment drivers, including: Overall Reputation, Strength of Program, Job Opportunities for Graduates, Sense of Community, Feeling of Fit, Value for Cost, and Availability of Financial Aid.

8. Communications: This benchmark shows the percentage of students who both use and find useful key components of enrollment communications, including: In-Person, Websites, Publications, Social Media, Campus Visits, and Admitted Student Events.

9. Net Cost Comparisons: This benchmark shows the percentage of students choosing to attend an institution with a lower, same, or higher net cost than the inquiring institution. It includes student-estimated dollar amounts of the difference in net cost.

According to Kim Reid, Principal Analyst at Eduventures and author of this study, “The Eduventures Survey of Admitted Students helps institutions to understand the nature of important perception gaps and to develop appropriate strategies for addressing these gaps for traditional-aged undergraduates. Our new benchmark research goes further by helping institutions accurately measure themselves against regional and national competitors to craft and apply an informed yield strategy.”


Now part of ACT, The National Research Center for College and University Admissions™ is an educational data science and research organization serving over 1,900-member institutions comprised of public and private colleges and universities across the nation. Since 1972, NRCCUA has been a leading provider of data, technology, and programs serving students, high school educators, colleges and universities from its offices in Lee’s Summit, MO, Boston, MA, New York, NY, and Austin, TX. These solutions represent the link between students making important life decisions and those providing the resources and information they need to succeed in their post-secondary educations and careers. With the launch of Encoura™ Data Lab, the company now combines data science, advanced analytics, Eduventures research, predictive modeling and omnichannel enrollment services in one platform to enable institutions to make real-time strategic and operational decisions to meet their unique enrollment goals and create the highest probability of student success. For more information, visit

Members of the media who would like to speak to the author of this report or obtain a copy of the report can contact Ellen Slaby at

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Maggie Lamond
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