I was recently able to spend three days in Louisville, KY at the National Association of College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) annual conference, talking to people about enrollment management practices. A major theme of the conference this year was data, and how to use data to improve the efficiency of admissions, recruitment, and enrollment operations. Institutions are looking to improve the matching between students and schools, more effectively communicate with their prospects, and ensure that they enroll a class of a size and academic preparedness consistent with their institutional missions. The emphasis on data was reflected in the Exhibit Hall by the large number of data and technology vendors present. A number of attendees commented that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of data technology products in the enrollment management space. These include products designed to identify prospects, improve messaging, analyze enrollment trends, and enhance each element of the admissions process. HelioCampus fills a unique niche within this emerging data-focused ecosystem, with a solution that provides strategic analyses that connect admissions and enrollment strategy to student success, academic programming, budget forecasting, and other mission-critical strategic priorities.
One presentation that was particularly interesting, and that received a very enthusiastic reception from the attendees, was by David Burge, Vice President for Enrollment Management at George Mason University (GMU) and past president of NACAC. He talked about GMU's initiatives to use data more strategically and their partnership with HelioCampus to enable that strategy. Additionally, his presentation included a lively and thoughtful discussion on the ethical use of data analytics.
Overall, I found the conference extremely interesting and informative, and look forward to keeping in touch with new contacts and attending the annual conference next year in Minneapolis.