Partner Story

Increasing Enrollment by 93% at Saint Louis University, Madrid.

As prospective students were no longer able to visit the campus during the pandemic (one of the university’s most powerful yielding tools), SLU-Madrid sought out a campus app to support their digital efforts, with outstanding results.

Increasing Enrollment by 93% at SLU-Madrid

Reaching Enrollment Goals During a Pandemic.

As prospective students were no longer able to visit the campus during the pandemic (one of the university’s most powerful yielding tools), SLU-Madrid sought out a campus app to support their digital efforts, and chose to deploy two Raftr communities: one for admitted students and another for their parents & family members.

Heidi Buffington
Director of Admissions, SLU-Madrid

“We’ve come a long way with Raftr in a very short time! After the first call with Raftr, I was excited about the possibilities of using the app, but also a bit daunted by the amount of work involved. But Raftr’s support throughout the process allowed us to set up our communities effectively with hands-on guided implementation help.

We have worked hard to make this a meaningful app for our students and their parents, and we are overall very happy with our communities in Raftr.”

For a university that recruits students globally and understands the impact of an in-person campus visit, the team at SLU-Madrid needed a way to connect prospective students not only to their campus, but to their peers, as a means of encouraging them to enroll.

As reported by Inside Higher Ed, “college and university enrollment nationwide fell by 651,774 students – a decline of more than 3 percent – from fall 2019 to fall 2020, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.”

The team also had other aspects to consider, like: gaining buy-in from parents & family members who were hesitant about students living abroad during the pandemic. Additionally, they had a business requirement for counselors to manage communication with admitted students and their families in an authenticated community – to avoid inaccurate information circulating from unofficial social media groups.

The Results

Doubling fall 2021 enrollment numbers with the support of an admissions platform.

Paired with better tracking, improved communication, extra webinars and digital events, as well as a larger focus on counselor connections, the admissions team was able to increase their fall 2021 numbers by 93%.


Increase in First-Year Enrollment - Fall 2021.

Student activation rate


Within the First 3 Weeks.

Active participation of


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Raftr users logged


Total Sessions

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Connecting students & parents to campus life early, to increase yield, reduce melt & maximize enrollment.

With the help of the Raftr platform, the team at SLU-Madrid was able to better meet student and staff needs at scale, as well as help to increase yield, reduce melt, and maximize enrollment. 

95% of families who activated accounts had students who enrolled and of the 140 students who activated accounts in SLU-Madrid’s admitted students community, 104 enrolled.

According to Heidi Buffington, Chief Strategic Enrollment Management Officer, Director of Admissions of SLU-Madrid, they welcomed their “largest incoming class in decades.”

By introducing both an admitted students & a parent community, the team at SLU-Madrid was able to:
        • Integrate and expand upon existing admissions strategies
        • Connect students to campus life early on prior to the decision period
        • Extend student & family reach to share necessary resources during the admissions process
        • Empower admissions leaders and counselors with tools to help save time
        • Provide dynamic omni-channel communication among current and admitted students

About Saint Louis University - Madrid

The St. Louis, Missouri-based university with a campus in Madrid, Spain prides itself on being the “American University in Spain,” delivering a world-class education that expands students’ cultural horizons. The Jesuit university is home to 900 students from the U.S., Spain and 50+ other countries, including a combination of short-term study abroad students and four-year degree seeking students. 

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