Including an application step in your admissions funnel is a great way to filter the exact students you want in your cohort and elevate the quality of your course community.

It does add another operational step in that you have to review student applications and accept them. Here's what it looks like from a student's perspective:

How to think about applications

Instant Pay means you convert prospects in the moment; it takes strong messaging and a great marketing funnel to get someone from visiting your course landing page to paying upwards of $1,000. When you employ applications in your admissions flow, you're committing to lengthening your sales pipeline.

You need to think about the application flow as a part of the sales process. Even though they've applied, they still need to be convinced. That means you need to be responsive and send them an acceptance quickly. It's generally important to get an acceptance into the inbox of an applicant within 48 hours.

Your acceptance email should be a celebration of the student and their success. The default acceptance email reinforces the fact that they're joining an exclusive group of handpicked peers. It also gives them a single call-to-action: enroll for the course.

Why use applications

Applications widen the top of your funnel. Because there's no money exchanged immediately, more prospects are likely to submit an application knowing they don't have to make a "final decision" (read: payment) until later.

Applications offer you an opportunity to filter for your ideal student. Especially early on, it's important for you to find product-market fit, your course being your product. You originally developed course content with a specific student in mind so applications are a great way to test your original hypothesis.

Applications help you learn about your market. Whether or not you intended for them to find your course, you may discover a market niche you previously didn't consider. You may be thinking about teaching beginner engineers but you may get a lot of senior engineer applications. First, you'll want to adjust your marketing material to speak more to your ideal student. Second, you'll want to create a new course for senior engineers!

What questions to ask in your application

Maven always collects the applicants's name, preferred name, and email address. Preferred name is a great way to capture how a student wants to be addressed. In case you need to look someone up, or write a personalized email, you'll know how to address them. In your email variables {{StudentName}} will first try and use the Preferred name. If it's not available, it will use the student's full name.

Beyond these 3 pieces of information, Maven defaults to collecting:

  • Time zone

  • Job title

  • Company name

  • Twitter handle

  • Linkedin URL

These are default on but you can easily toggle them off.

These questions help you quickly understand the type of applicant you're getting. That said, you may want more detailed or industry-specific information. Some popular questions that tend to provide valuable insights:

  • What are you most excited to learn in this course? This answer tells you either (a) what part of your course messaging resonated with the prospect, or (b) what you should include in your course. Both are extremely valuable pieces of information to have.

  • How can this course help you achieve your personal or professional objective? This can prompt some reflection and more context as to how the prospect sees your course fitting into their life.

  • Where did you learn about this course? It's always helpful to know where your best applications are coming from. You may see 50 applicants come in from Linkedin which result in 5 enrollments. And then you might see 25 applicants come from HackerNews, which results in 20 enrollments.

  • How familiar are you with [topic]? It's helpful to understand the level of expertise of students. This question is a starting point so based on your topic or industry, you may have a more precise question.

Be thoughtful about what questions are required and what information is a nice-to-have. Work backwards and think about the information you need to to make an admissions decision. Having a lot of required questions may push away potential prospects who grow tired of a lengthy application. While it's useful to weed out the prospects who aren't committed, you don't want to overdo it.

3 things to remember with your applications:

  1. It's a part of the sales funnel. Don't stop selling to prospects once they apply. Sell all the way through the transaction and keep selling them on the value of the course.

  2. Be observant. Don't just look for the information you planned for. See what other pieces of information students give you. It can help craft future course offerings.

  3. Work backwards. Think about the kind of information you need to make an admissions decision. Bias towards fewer questions to increase the likelihood of a student completing their application.

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