“The plumber’s pipes don’t always get fixed even by the plumber”
This post is my third installment in the continuing story about my 17-year-old son and enrollment management. He is a very intelligent (top 10 in his class) senior in high school (rural area of upstate South Carolina), baseball player, social media lover and southern boy who loves to be outside in the woods, water and wild. I am a 40ish year old Dad of two boys, with a wife who can hold her own even with 3 guys in the house! I have spent most of my working life in higher education enrollment with a brief hiatus (5 years) into corporate sales. Now, my life consists of visiting and consulting with colleges and universities across the south. In between, I get to sit behind the computer screen and try to keep up with what is happening with this younger generation. Here are some things I learned:
Time to be clear, concise, and understanding
Time is flying toward that ever important spring time – final decisions, follow up campus visits, financial aid appeals, phone calls, and notes of encouragement flying in all directions.
For colleges and universities, it is time to very clear with your message of what you expect from your applicants and inquiries. Now is the time to make sure that you have deadlines expressed via the many channels: In-person, by mail, by email, by social media – the list goes on. I would even suggest incorporating some count downs.
- Notifications– admission decisions, scholarship awards, housing assignments, etc – don’t leave them guessing.
- Checklists– even the smallest 3 points are helpful. We all get a lot of information thrown at us. I know that I can process smaller bits easily. Many of you who know me realize that I am the task/list maker. So, naturally, I enjoy a check list.
Lately, I have seen schools calling to share the next step for my son. Several are inquiring if he is going to apply; some are asking for him to visit again; and, a few have asked him to reserve his place for the fall. If you don’t ever ask, then you will not receive. So, ask students and families to take the next step. If you get rejected, that gives you a chance to understand why and then help the student/family make the best choice.
Our road to enrollment is nearing the end! We have now visited two additional schools and have plans to visit another after the first of the year. The fall campus visits were both here in South Carolina at institutions that are quite well known for their quality liberal arts educations. The campuses did an amazing job with logistics and in showing true southern hospitality! At both schools, the tour guides did an awesome job of walking backwards! My friend and great American campus tour experience expert, Jeff Kallay, says that this is a no no! I did worry the entire time that she was going to trip and fall backwards while leading our groups. I am sure I was not alone. Please stop periodically and jump up on a bench and tell your story so we all can hear you.
Understanding parents’ and student’s needs can be a challenge. I give kudos to the schools across the country for extending their application deadlines while “The Common Application” got the bugs worked out of their systems this fall. They could have played hard ball and said that students should have prepared ahead of time for these problems. But, many have gone over and beyond with this situation.
New Year Enrollment Check Up
Now is the time to consider reviewing where you are and where you project you will be this spring.
Good questions to ask yourself:
- Do you have enough inquiries to generate enough applications? What will it take?
- Do you need to drive more visits from your applicant pool?
- Do you need to complete more applications with missing documents?
- In thinking of family finances, do you need to process more award letters?
- Do you need to train your staff on award letters and how to present them as well as how make “the ask?”
- What about your yield events?
- Alumni and faculty calls
- Accepted student days
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, I welcome you to call me to talk about strategy or how our services can assist your team in reaching their fall goals.
Keep an eye out for another post and more information to help you navigate the enrollment cycle.