North Carolina’s Element451 — taking its name from the temperature at which paper burns — has been leading the charge to bring the college admission process into the digital world.
The need to streamline how colleges find potential students only grew as traditional campus recruiting was thrown into flux at the height of COVID-related shutdowns. The process, Element451 says, should be student-centered.
“The pandemic has revealed how admissions and enrollment teams need to be much more in tune with where students are,” the Element451 team told Hypepotamus. “From a technology perspective, what devices they’re using, what platforms and ways of doing things they’re used to. And in their life circumstances. Do they need more time to make a decision? Do they need more guidance on completing forms and navigating the financial aid process? It’s really about a student-driven admissions process now.”
As a CRM tool for admissions offices, colleges can launch campaigns, host events, and streamline communication throughout the application process. The focus on automation and insight throughout the process, Element451 believes, helps personalize the road to college for many students.
This focus recently helped Element451 close a $3 million Series A round, led by Missouri-based Cultivation Capital.
North Carolina’s Cofounders Capital, which had previously funded Element451’s $1 million seed round, also participated.
“This was a perfect raise because it brought in the next round of VC with deep vertical expertise in this space and a strategic investor/partner,” said David Gardner, Cofounders partner and founder, said in a statement.
Cultivation Capital has invested in close to 150 startups to date across life sciences, software, and agriculture sectors.
College in the Southeast like LSU Shreveport, Florida State College at Jacksonville, Forsyth Tech Community College, and Toccoa Falls College currently use the platform. Element451 says the new funding will go towards helping colleges combat “drops in enrollment and operating dollars” coming out of the pandemic.
National Trends Changing College Admissions
Colleges often rely on tours and on-campus events to entice high school seniors. As in-person events dried up, admission programs had to start getting creative to reach potential students.
“We’ve found that the hardest, most expensive thing that can get in the way for colleges is producing content and marketing automations for reaching students. So we launched a new product in Element called Packs. It’s essentially free, customizable campaigns that are professionally written and designed,” said the Element451 team.
The Element451 team also believes national trends coming out of the pandemic can help more students access post-secondary educational opportunities. The US Congress is currently debating an infrastructure bill that includes $12 million for updating the country’s community college system.
“We’re eager to see if community college student populations will get relief as the economy and childcare situations hopefully start to improve. Community college is an incredibly important way for the nation’s learners to access higher education. Potential students and community colleges are really struggling.”