During our company’s 36 year timeline, the higher ed and enrollment management industry has shifted and changed. So has the way we recruit students.

At The Parish Group, we pride ourselves on adapting our understanding and services to best use ever-evolving technology and methodology for our partner institutions.

In our last blog, we discussed the potential ramifications of the SCOTUS decision, the possibility of a snowballing effect in legal pursuits, and the need for higher ed leaders to take action. 

Our TPG legal team has reviewed the SCOTUS decision and how it might impact student recruitment. 

Since the most recent decision focuses on a race-blind application review, it should not entirely affect the way we shape our classes at the pre-applicant stage.

The Current Challenges of Student Search

Barriers in obtaining student identifier information are nothing new. Even before the SCOTUS decision, student search underwent its own shift with regards to personal information. The way we will access and use data is changing, or should be.

It boils down to respect for student privacy and controlling their owned data. 

(Data integrity and security have always been the highest priority at The Parish Group. This will not change.)

The College Board’s move to digital assessment during school day testing will necessitate changes to how higher ed will market to those students.

The new testing arrangements will move about ⅓ of available test takers to its new Connections platform within the College Board Search. Our team has had numerous discussions with our colleagues at College Board to better inform our recommendations to our .edu partners.  

With that in mind, here are the top 10 topics we’re discussing with our partners in navigating the post-Affirmative Action landscape. 

1. Data Sources

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the more diverse your sources are, the better. If you put all your eggs in one basket, and the basket breaks or changes its privacy policies… well, you get the picture.

Diversification of sources for your student search campaign is essential for market saturation and success. College Board data is just one source for colleges and it should not be your only consideration.

Encoura and CBSS provide their own unique names and data. Offline consumer, Clearinghouse, and other source’s data can be augmented to flush out other data points to help build a robust strategy.

2. Search Communications

It’s important to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of internalizing your search communications versus running them externally. This will mainly depend on your budget, CRM, and ability to execute.

3. Timing

While the exact timestamp might not wholly impact a desired result, key in to when you’re sending certain messages. Ask yourself why should this particular message go out on this specific date?

4. Messaging Strategy 

Similarly, keep in mind the frequency of messages sent, personalization, length of copy, imagery, and topic of the message. Analyzing the best performing aspects of each allows you room to finetune your messaging for optimal results. 

5. Media Mix 

Another message we’ll shout from the rooftops: you should be diversifying the avenues in which you send your communications. Utilizing print, email, and paid and organic digital will give the best results. 

6. CRM Usage 

Think about not only what to say in fulfillment, but also the use of your data, tracking, and reporting within your CRM. 

7. Website

A busy website with difficult navigation helps no one. 

Ensure your site is recruitment-focused with easy-to-use navigation. Your application and RFI should always be quick to find!


In 2020, Congress passed the FAFSA Simplification Act and we’re already seeing changes start to take effect. 

This includes more streamlined access to tax returns via the IRS’s site, a shift from Expected Family Contribution to Student Aid Index with modified calculations, and changes to how Pell Grant dollars are determined. 

9. Programs 

Does your school have a unique program unlike any in the country? Or perhaps a top-performing program you’d like to highlight? Flaunt those programs!

Showcasing specific avenues for learning can help a potential student visualize their educational journey at your institution. 

10. Influencers

Not the Instagram type—moreso those within a student’s immediate circle whose opinion can hold a lot of weight. Think parents or guardians, siblings and other family members, and school counselors. 

Assessing and Moving Forward

With all the changes happening in the industry, the road ahead can feel murky. Maintaining a steadfast plan-of-action can help your team stay focused on recruiting a diverse class best-fit to your college or university. 

If you need credible advising along the way, The Parish Group is here to help. 

Our enrollment experts have decades of experience navigating the changes in the industry and are a quick email or phone call away. 

Reach out at success@parishgroup.com or call our office at 828-505-3000.