Unsure of Which Degree Program to Launch? Let Us Help.
Understand Market Demand Before Launching New Degrees
Deciding which online programs—whether undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, or certificates—to take online is a big decision with multiple moving parts and potentially huge payoffs…or big disasters.
Successfully launching an in-demand program can boost enrollments, generate much-needed tuition revenue, and serve as the foundation for a replicable and scalable model for future programs. Conversely, launching a low-quality or low-interest online program wastes time, energy and resources while dampening institutional enthusiasm for future online efforts.
In addition to academic departments (numerous ones for undergraduate degrees requiring core classes that have to be delivered virtually), successful online programs require input and buy-in from almost every office on a campus: registrar, financial aid, admissions, bookstore, student services, bursar, and others.
Our goal is to help our clients gather the best intelligence possible to make the best decisions about what to take online, and we do this by carefully and fully studying the marketplace. Externally, we review labor market demand, salaries, and competing programs. Internally, we provide in-depth assessments of institutional readiness in areas such as IT, staffing, marketing, admissions, and course design. Our unbiased research team will also assess internal documents such as the institutional strategic plan to ensure that online degrees mesh well with the larger goals of the institution.
For instance, our work for a law school offering online Master’s degrees included a review of the current admissions effort. In so doing, we identified several areas that needed attention, including timing of communications, timely follow-up, and an inconsistent calendar. At a private university in the northeast, we found that while the Student Information System could handle online students, several underlying policies need attention. We also identified concerns about the institution’s receptivity toward transfer students and a lack of understanding about the need for asynchronous course delivery. This institution also faced intense competition for online students from better-known institutions with lower tuition and shorter programs.
In both cases, having unbiased researchers gather information through interviews, focus groups, and open forums enabled institutional leaders to better understand their challenges and make informed decisions accordingly.
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