The Power of Evidence

The University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy
Research, focus groups, surveys

UC Harris Keller Center

The Challenge

The Harris School was ready for an aggressive growth strategy. But the school faced tough competition in a highly selective tier, and any growth would require a deeper understanding of who did and didn’t enroll and the appeal of the school’s empirical-based offer. As Harris’s research partner, we were asked to learn everything we could about their audience’s motivation and provide actionable insights for ­optimizing prospect communications at every stage of the enrollment funnel.

The Impact

Applications have increased by 30 percent year over year since 2016—the result of an enrollment strategy shaped by our annual surveys and more targeted research assignments. Along with helping Harris more effectively showcase the value of the degree, refine tactics and messaging, and enhance conversions, our research also drove the successful launch of one year and evening programs, as well as more strategically sound financial aid packages.

Project components

  • Seven years of research:
  • – Annual benchmark perception surveys
  • – Prospect-centered focus groups