SACRAO 2020 was a wonderful opportunity to discuss enrollment topics with colleagues from across the southern region of the country.
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.
Last week, we had the opportunity to attend the 74th annual NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling) 2018 Conference in beautiful Salt Lake City, UT. The focus of the conference was connecting professionals who are tasked with creating the appropriate bridge for students to enroll in the right academic program for them, whether that is coming from high school, an adult who is embarking on their first time in college, or a returning adult. A lot of the talk around the conference floor was around how colleges can attract and retain the right students for them, the changing student demographic, and associated expectations of today’s students (and their parents.) The growing importance of the role of transfer students and the value of a college degree were also top of mind for most institutions.
Colleges and universities are under considerable pressure, both from within, as they work to fulfill their educational mission, and externally, as they attempt to understand and curtail drops in enrollment and retention. The latter is particularly troubling, as more than half of public colleges and two-thirds of private institutions failed to meet their enrollment goals in 2016.1 Many higher education institutions are embracing analytic solutions to help them unravel enrollment, persistence, and retention challenges. By analyzing academic history, student behavior, co-curricular involvement, and other pertinent data, colleges and universities can recruit, attract, and enroll students who have a higher likelihood of academic success. This allows them to focus on efforts to identify students that need extra support who are already enrolled, and make interventions, increasing students’ likelihood to persist. Institutional data is only useful if it is leveraged properly. The following are five best practices for enrollment management practitioners to consider when deploying an analytics strategy.