The good news for Temple, Philadelphia’s access-to-all career-accelerator: the university’s prospect pool overflowed with students from across the spectrum. The not-so-good news: the university’s prospect pool overflowed with students from across the spectrum, many of whom knew little to nothing about Temple beyond its urban location and its affordability compared with its heavy-weight regional competitors. These “soft” applications needed to be either strengthened or removed from the pool, but that could only happen when Temple identified the students it really serves best.
Temple students may come from across the spectrum, but they also have a lot in common. They’re focused, goal-oriented, respectful, and pragmatic “doers” devoted to making the most of their education. In short, Temple students don’t react; they act. And no matter their individual background or level of academic sophistication, Temple meets these students where they are–opening doors, giving access, and supporting their hard work and action.
We had discovered the Temple Constant: It’s a reciprocal relationship.
How can Temple better frame its relationship with its full range of students? “It’s a partnership. Between access and action. Between you and Temple.” This access-action concept introduced prospects to the reciprocal relationship—and real results—they could expect at Temple. At every point of contact, the access-action concept further aligned and strengthened the idea of Temple as a partner for motivated students.
As intended, the program immediately improved yield with action-oriented applicants, eventually producing 7% fewer “soft,” reactive applicants. And still, Temple enrolled the largest freshman class to date and more transfer students than ever before while also reducing spending on financial aid. Again in the second year of the program, Temple enrolled a record-breaking freshman class–10% larger than the baseline year. The latest admission cycle shows another 14% surge in applications and double-digit improvements in student SAT scores. The university’s memorable new messaging stays true to Temple’s long-held mission, responds to emerging recruitment initiatives, and aligns this large, at times sprawling, enterprise under a simple, direct, and audience-centric message.
In my career, I’ve invited Patti and her team to tackle four very different challenges at four very different institutions. Their values-based methodology worked every time, revealing what was truly differentiating about each institution and resulting in marketing messages that didn’t just resonate externally, but also inspired institutional leaders and energized recruiting staff at every level.
–William N. Black,
senior vice provost for enrollment management