Lincoln Memorial University: Improving Quality of Applicants

Background

Lincoln Memorial University is a private, four-year liberal arts university located in Harrogate, Tennessee.  The university, while small, has a rich history and provides educational opportunities, develops community leadership, and expands the economy of the region.

In 2009, LMU was facing declining graduation rates. In order to improve its reputation, its graduation and retention rates, and its selectivity, the university partnered with QualPro to increase the number of applications received from students with higher test scores.

Approach

QualPro consultants assembled a project team of university personnel. Together, the team brainstormed a list of 70 potential improvement ideas. Our consultants helped the team narrow the list to 36 ideas that were practical, fast, and cost-free. Some of these ideas included recruitment strategies, contact methods, and parent messaging.

Next, our consultants designed MVT® experiments for LMU’s personnel to test. The testing involved 56 high schools from various areas. A screening experiment revealed that five of the ideas had a significant impact and were worthy of further exploration. Some of these ideas included providing potential students with a 3D gift, sending a Student Life letter, and creating a counselor awareness program. After analyzing the results, our consultants provided recommendations for LMU to implement.

In accordance with our commitment to driving continuous improvement and fostering innovation, our consultants worked closely with LMU personnel to guide process changes and motivate project team members to exceed goals.

Results

Based on QualPro’s recommendations, the university identified the ideal recruitment process for attracting students with higher test scores. Implementing these recommendations resulted in a 94 percent increase in the number of applicants with ACT scores of 24 and greater. Additionally, the number of applicants with an ACT score of 29 or greater increased by 50 percent. Overall, the number of applications for fall 2010 increased by 18 percent.