Increase higher ed leads by asking less

At the School of Informatics and Computing, we were trying to find ways to increase the number of leads from prospective high school students. We had doubled the number of lead forms submitted on our website (which is obviously very good), but 3 out of every 4 were from transfer students. We were struggling to figure out why transfer students were more willing to connect with us.

We began to wonder if the number of questions being asked was a barrier for high school students. While nobody has much patience for filling out a form, we thought older students might be more inclined to take the time.

Our old undergraduate lead form had 7 fields:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Whether they are a transfer student or not (necessary for routing the form to the appropriate admissions rep)
  • Their year in school
  • What school they attend
  • The program(s) they are interested in
  • A question or message

Our Solution

All of the information we were asking is important to our admissions staff. But is it really necessary to get all of it at once at the very beginning? Or are there opportunities to receive the information later? We worked closely with our admissions staff to learn what pieces of information were critical to getting students into the proper communications funnel.

We shortened the form to contain only 3 fields for prospective freshmen and 4 for transfer students. The new form contains the following:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Are you a transfer student?
  • If the student is a transfer student, they are shown a message field to ask a question

The form automatically detects which degree page the form is being submitted from and passes the degree name along with the form data to our admissions staff. We left the message field for transfer students because the high school students rarely used it, while transfer students generally have specific questions about their transfer process. The fields about which school they attend and what year they are can be gathered later when they attend an event or engage with our staff in some other way.


Since we implemented this change in Fall 2020, we are seeing at least an equal number of high school and transfer student leads and one month we had twice as many high school leads as transfer leads. If your school is struggling to generate a high number of leads, take a look at your form and see if you can find a way to shorten the form.