NACAC 2019: A Focus on Analytics

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.

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Reflections from NACAC 2018: National Association for College Admission Counseling

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.

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Leveraging Analytics in Enrollment Management: 5 Best Practices

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.

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AACRAO 2017: Planning and Forecasting Enrollments

A challenge facing higher education institutions is looking into the future and properly forecasting enrollments. However, finding a unified solution is closer than you think.  

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