It's a counter-intuitive scenario: Driving enrollment is mission critical for sustaining financial viability in most independent schools yet directors of enrollment management often find their divisions understaffed and overworked. It is common for directors to wear every hat in the book: strategist, marketing guru, admission counselor, and administrator. Their plates are served with heaping portions of responsibilities and tasks. Being served professional portions that are impossible to completely consume can only lead one down two paths.
- Throw your hands in the air and shout, “I surrender!”
- Prioritize and release. Give a sense of urgency to key triggers in driving enrollment and let go of the minutia.
The key is to work smarter, not harder, and get the most out of your limited resources, which includes time and money. What are some top of mind things that we see great enrollment management programs doing to shoulder these burdens? Here are some simple and strategic ways to move your office forward.
- Go Digital. We are knee deep in the digital age although many independent schools have yet to even dip their toes in this pool. Embrace the “no paper” era with open arms, and conversely save personnel hours. From reenrollment, to the inquiry and application process, to new student registration, more paper means more work, as well as more opportunity for error.
- Enlist Great Software. Propose an investment in intuitive, effective enrollment management software. When utilized properly, the effect can be equated to having another enrollment management associate on board. With most enrollment management technical suites possess the capability execute the school’s communication plan, this is yet another opportunity to automate and in turn reduce workload.
- Be Data-Driven. Base your actions and decisions on empirical data. Look at numbers, demographics, history, and whatever data available to determine where to properly allocate your time. After all past performance is the greatest indicator of future performance. Do not rely on theory as to why operations have been conducted in their current form. Bring out your inner Sherlock, and get to the root of key motivators through research.
- Collaborate on Campus. Create partnerships with faculty and staff to collectively meet the needs of families engaged in your enrollment funnel. Utilize ambassadors for calling campaigns, maximize prospective students’ exposure and communication with faculty. Develop a current parent resource team to connect with prospective families. Maximize the strengths of your current population and afford others the opportunity to participate.
- Be Social. Understand the effectiveness of social media marketing and execute accordingly. Social media isn’t going anywhere, folks. It is intuitive, audience-friendly, engaging, and inexpensive. Let’s face it, print advertising and direct mail campaigns are ineffective dinosaurs in a world of technological progress. Consistent dissemination of effective content through social media outlets will not only reach your audience but do so in a language they speak fluently.
- Let it Go. One can only do so much, and effective overworked directors of enrollment management share a keen ability to understand what is and is not under their control. The key is to focus on the tasks and strategies that are truly mission critical and let go of any operational hurdles and busy work that impedes strategic movement forward.
If you are looking for ways to streamline your effort and remain strategic in the process, consider implementing a few of these ideas in your enrollment management program. Have other ideas? Feel free to share your comments below so that others may benefit from your wisdom and experience.