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San Mateo County Community College District

San Mateo County Community College District goes big on student success.
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Finding a holistic solution that fits the modern student

San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD) knew the future of education was a full-service experience that guides students through their learning journey and supports them in reaching their educational goals.

To provide this level of support across three independently accredited colleges, the district knew it needed a unified solution to ensure consistent services and outreach. A responsive, modern platform was critical to bringing student data together across colleges and campuses.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Student Success Hub enabled SMCCCD to implement its vision and plan for the future of education in a way that fits its ambitious goals.

  • 47%
    of admitted students participated in all matriculation steps.
  • 28%
    of students converted from an Request for Information.
  • 71%
    of students attended self-booked counseling appointments.


Built-in success is needed at every step of the way

Before adopting Salesforce, SMCCCD had a disjointed approach to student recruiting, experience, and outreach. Instead, each college had its own research office that relied on its own recommended methods.

When it came to enrollment, the onus was placed on prospective students to successfully navigate the application process. Unfortunately, if the student didn’t complete the full matriculation process, chances are they would not be enrolled. With many of the students enrolling at more than one college within the district, SMCCCD needed a more cohesive step-by-step approach to assist first time and returning students.

Student outreach was also a challenge within the district. Communication from different organizations, clubs, and student services looked inconsistent from one campus to another.

Tired of putting pen to paper, the district enlisted a tech task force that would look for a new platform. This team prioritized implementing a full student lifecycle solution that would be efficient for both staff and students and would effectively integrate the college’s student information system (SIS).

Now that we use Salesforce, we are more modernized. Our new streamlined and automated processes help improve the student experience.” Vice President of Planning, Research, and Institutional Effectiveness
San Mateo County Community College District


Overcoming change with incremental improvements and end-user support

When SMCCCD implemented Salesforce, the district aligned each college on recruitment and admissions, student success, and outreach using Student Success Hub and Marketing Cloud.

To overcome their individual college mindset, SMCCCD brought together similar positions and roles to discuss best practices across reporting, processes, and outreach. In addition to focus groups, they created a series of training, newsletters, and feedback sessions after each new iteration to all end users.

“We bring people together for continuous improvement, and the colleges talk to each other more now that we have Salesforce,” said Karrie Mitchell, Vice President of Planning Research and Institutional Effectiveness.

Bringing outreach and student experience into the digital age

To increase conversion rates from RFI to application, SMCCD adopted Marketing Cloud to deliver personalized engagement at scale for recruitment. The new plan provides guidance on how to complete the steps, the status of their enrollment, or how to connect with an academic counselor.

The district expanded its use of Salesforce after seeing areas of opportunity and combined its SIS with Student Success Hub to create individualized success plans for every student to reach their educational goals.

Academic counselors needed a more accessible way to schedule meetings and make streamlined success plans. After decades of spreadsheets, tech adoption was the more efficient path for both students and staff.

With Student Success Hub, students can visit their online portal at any point in the day to schedule a meeting and staff can find, update, and share student records more easily.

“We tried to reduce as many barriers as we could for students,” said Sandra Allen, Director of CRM at SMCCCD. “We focused on helping students navigate the system as easily as we can.”

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Using shared data to collaborate and innovate

The new, data-driven approach brought positive results. Since implementing Salesforce, 47% of admitted students participated in all matriculation steps, 28% of students converted from an RFI, and 71% attended self-booked counseling appointments.

Since implementing Marketing Cloud, the colleges are able to present a unified messaging front for the different groups they are targeting. One example of this has been veteran outreach. The three colleges now send joint messages informing them of curated programs to take part in, such as the option to be connected with Support Teams. The success of the collaborative outreach has inspired other groups such as the Disability Resource Centers to do the same.

SMCCCD has implemented a project prioritization list for Salesforce expansion. The projects include automating workflows, building upon business needs, and creating new student programs. Current projects include expanding K-12 and middle college programs and introducing automated text messaging nudges for matriculation and academic counseling appointments. This list continues to grow as more people are interested in getting involved.

“Now that we use Salesforce, we are more modernized. Our new streamlined and automated processes help improve the student experience,” said Mitchell.

Streamline services and boost student success with Student 360.


About San Mateo County Community College District

San Mateo County Community College District was established in 1922 and has three colleges serving nearly 30,000 students annually.

The District offers the first two years of instruction in a wide variety of degree and transfer programs, as well as vocational-technical programs, to fit students of every walk of life.