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How Adrian College Gained 49 New Enrollments

May 10, 2022
New Programs Approved
Months to Approval
New Enrollments in Year 1

College Background

Adrian College is a four-year private institution located in Michigan offering associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. The undergraduate program attracted 1,865 students in the 2021 academic year. The College is known for ranking as the #1 most innovative college in the Midwest in 2022. The earliest adopter of Rize programs through the LCMC, Adrian College is a great example of how colleges using Rize programs can grow enrollment.

The Challenge: Competing with Larger Schools

Adrian College is situated in a part of Michigan that is dense with large, public universities. To its north, Central Michigan University offers over 325 academic programs, and to its east, Eastern Michigan University offers more than 525 academic programs to their students. Historically, many students who visited campus loved the traditional, small college hallmarks that Adrian offers: the vibrant campus community, smaller class sizes, extracurriculars, a personalized approach and more. However, those same students often decided to not attend Adrian. With just 50 academic programs, Adrian couldn’t offer them their desired major. 

By adding more academic programs that students are looking for, Adrian could offer prospective students the best of both worlds: a premium liberal arts college experience and cutting-edge academic programs. However, starting a single academic program can take a small college many years and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even after dedicating time and resources to developing programs, the majority of new programs fail to attract enough students to cover its costs. 

To circumvent those obstacles, Adrian partnered with the LCMC and Rize to add high-quality, low-risk academic programs without significant upfront and ongoing costs.

Growing Offerings for Adrian Students

The first step for Adrian was identifying which new programs prospective students and regional employers were looking for. Dr. Andrea Milner, VPAA, worked with the Deans and their Rize Academic Partner to identify a variety of academic programs that were strong complements to the existing catalog. By the start of the Fall ‘21 enrollment cycle, Adrian’s faculty had approved a combination of majors and minors across more than 10 high-growth fields. 

Once programs were approved by the faculty, the VP of Enrollment, Frank Hribar, and the enrollment staff at Adrian began actively promoting them via press releases and through videos recorded by President Docking himself.  Post-launch, the team at Adrian continued collaborating heavily with the Rize Enrollment Marketing team to deploy new content and strategies that can effectively showcase the exciting innovation at Adrian. This included information sessions for advisors and coaches as well as webinars for prospective students. 

Just months after initiating discussions to start academic programs with Rize, Adrian generated the following results:

49 new freshmen declared one of the new majors on their deposit form.
46 new freshmen declared one of the new minors on their deposit form.

In a recent survey, 85% of respondents reported that they wouldn’t have come to Adrian if they didn’t have their LCMC major. Given this influx of new freshmen, Adrian expects nearly $4mm in incremental enrollment revenue which can be attributed to Adrian's new programs.

And beyond these identified students, Adrian is seeing the impact show up across the board. Their website traffic to the majors section is up 500% year over year, their freshmen class of 2021 was the second largest in history, and they’ve experienced record retention the last several semesters.

Continuing the Momentum

Following the 2021 enrollment cycle, Adrian’s Academic Affairs staff identified, built and approved programs in another 10 high-growth fields alongside Rize and the LCMC. Leveraging the full suite of programs powered by Rize, Adrian’s enrollment team has continued to grow applications and enrollments for the Fall 2022 cycle. We are excited to see these results compound in the years ahead. 

If you are interested in learning more about Adrian College’s Rize journey, please reach out to Abigail McCulloch at amcculloch@rize.education.