Inquiry Sources in Coming Years: What to Expect (Part 1)

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It’s no secret: Higher education will continue to feel the pandemic’s effects for years to come. 

This fact is already made evident in 2024 inquiry sources. 

In our 3-part blog series, we will investigate 1) how inquiries have been affected, 2) where to focus your efforts on the most valuable sources, and 3) what you can do to ensure you’re prepared. 

Part 1: What Happened to Inquiries? 

When looking ahead to the Entering Classes of 2023 and 2024, inquiry volume has dropped dramatically. 

Inquiries from the Entering Class of 2023 are down 22 percent compared to this time last year, and 2024 inquiries are down 15 percent. 

Many factors contribute here, including changes in standardized testing, restrictions on campus visits due to the pandemic, and so much more. 

But there is one main driver for the decline in inquiry volume: the lack of volume in Search names. 

The proportion of Search volume has dropped from 51.2 percent of EC 2021 names to only 42.5 percent of EC 2024. Combined with the significantly reduced volume of names available, that equates to roughly half of EC 2021’s available Search names. 

Our data tells us that schools turned to alternative list sources to make up the difference. 

However, students from these alternative list sources pull through the funnel at a much lower rate than those through Search – so this method is not fully effective. Although purchased names comprised nearly 25 percent of all inquiries in the Entering Classes of 2018—2021, they only accounted for 6.7 percent of all enrollments. 

These numbers may be a little discouraging, but our data shares a few bright spots. We’ll dig into the good news in Part 2 of this series! 

(If you don’t want to wait, you can see the full picture now by accessing our resource, Looking (Far Far) Ahead: 2024 Inquiry Trends.