Identifying and managing duplicate student records can be an absolute nightmare for community colleges.

In today’s multi-channel communication environment, it’s not uncommon for community colleges to receive information from a number of different data sources and to make matters worse, the student data is often incomplete and inconsistent.

And even if you’re successful in manually finding some duplicate records, you’re likely missing many others. Ultimately, all of this extra time and effort takes away from what your team does best, which is helping students navigate the admissions process.

Here are some of the reasons why duplicate data can be a real-life nightmare … and why managing it effectively is crucial to a successful community college enrollment operation.

1. Gives your Students the Wrong Impression

If you’re unable to identify and manage duplicates effectively, there’s a good chance you’ll send incorrect communications to students.

For example, if your database has two records for the same student – one record has a student status of “inquiry” and the other “applicant” – the student is likely to receive communications encouraging them to apply, even though they’ve already submitted an application. Not only can this be embarrassing for your institution, but it can be confusing to the student.

2. Harms your Email Reputation

When duplicate emails are delivered to the same person at the same time, email providers are likely to flag the messages as spam. And even if you’re lucky enough to have your messages delivered, students may find receiving duplicate emails annoying, which could make them more likely to unsubscribe.

3. Drains your Marketing Dollars

If your database includes duplicate records, you’re also more likely to mail duplicate print pieces to students. Just think of the added cost of sending two print pieces to the same student!

4. Generates Inaccurate Reporting

If your database is full of duplicate records, then your numbers will be inflated and your critical enrollment reporting will be inaccurate. As a result, you’ll be unable to use the data to make the best strategic decisions for your institution.

5. Results in Poor Student Guidance

If a student calls your office and your staff doesn’t realize that your database has multiple records for the same student, your staff is more likely to provide the student with incorrect or incomplete information.

6. Creates Double Trouble

If your system is unable to identify and manage duplicates effectively, it likely will have a difficult time distinguishing between family members, especially twins. That’s because family members often share addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses – and most systems will assume they are the same person. (Fun Fact: The global rate of twin births has risen by a third since the 1980s)

7. Causes Integration Issues

If your database is riddled with duplicates, you’re likely to have issues when integrating the data into your student information system (SIS), creating a never-ending cycle of data challenges.

8. Harms Staff Morale

Nothing hurts team morale like a database full of duplicate data!

The Solution: The best way to manage duplicates, and wake up from your duplicate nightmare, is to utilize a powerful CRM that includes multiple complex matching rules to do the heavy lifting. Fireworks CRM has over 22 complex matching rules based on different combinations of data elements, which helps community colleges manage the duplicate matching process efficiently and effectively.