Category Archives: Enrollment Management

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Admissions Leaders Gather to Weigh ‘Prestige, Financial Aid, and Love’

Indianapolis — Gray areas, pink hair, and a silver scooter.

I heard about all of those over three days here at the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s annual conference, where officials shared concerns about many issues. The challenge of recruiting students in this high-tech age. The relentless need to bolster the bottom line as institutional budgets remain tight. And the weight of expectations—some reasonable, some not—to deliver a bigger, better freshman class each year.

In…

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Common Application Revs Up Again

The 2014-15 Common Application will go live at 8 a.m. on Friday, which means this nation of eager-beaver college applicants can start their apps before breakfast. As many as 50,000 high-school students are expected to create accounts over the next few days.

Following  a difficult cycle for the Common App, admissions officers and college counselors will be watching the online system closely over the coming months. Last year a series of technical problems complicated the admissions process for a…

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The Office of Undergraduate Admissions, Stress, and Sales?

Welcome to the admissions profession, the career you just fall into. Please make eye contact with each prospective student when describing this great campus, but remember, this isn’t marketing, OK? Learn everything about data. Technology, too. As for those nerves: Sooner or later, you just get used to all the administrators, trustees, and professors watching our office like half-starved hawks.

That portrait of the admissions field was inspired by a new report, released on Wednesday by the Natio…

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5 ‘Dirty Words’ Admissions Offices Should Embrace

Chicago — Brian Wm. Niles didn’t cuss, but still a few people winced.

At the ACT’s annual Enrollment Planners Conference here on Thursday, Mr. Niles, founder of Target X, recommended five “dirty words” colleges should use regularly. (Squeamish romantics fond of quaint words like “learning,” be warned.)

Customer. Many people who work at colleges dislike the word, preferring to call students “students.” But as more Americans question the value of higher education, Mr. Niles said, institutions must…

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What’s Missing From the Merit-Aid Debate

Nashville — Merit aid has a bad reputation: Critics say that when colleges use it, they reduce the need-based aid available to low-income students.

Jon Boeckenstedt disagrees. For many colleges, merit-based aid is a necessity, he said during a presentation here on Tuesday at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators’ annual meeting. What’s really hurting need-based aid is price increases and imprecise definitions of need, said Mr. Boeckenstedt, associate vice president for…

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Turning Financial-Aid and Admissions Staffs Into an Enrollment Team

Melanie_WeaverTraining admissions and financial-aid staff members to do one another’s jobs can be a challenge, but it can make for a smoother enrollment process for students and their families. In a guest post, Melanie Weaver describes what happened when Ohio Northern University cross-trained its enrollment staff. Ms. Weaver, the university’s director of financial aid, is scheduled to present on the topic this week at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators’ annual meeting, in Nashvil…

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What the 6 Types of Prospective College Students Are Looking For

To maintain or increase enrollment amid overall national declines, a new report by the Parthenon Group tells colleges to go beyond students’ demographics and focus on their motivations.

Institutions recruit on the assumption that so-called traditional students (age 18 to 24) go to college to discover themselves and that adult learners (“nontraditional” students) have more career-oriented goals, says Haven Ladd, a partner at Parthenon, a consulting firm. He and another partner, Seth Reynolds,…

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Still Shopping for a College? This List Is for You

If this year is like the last few, the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s annual “College Openings Update” will be trotted out as one more piece of evidence that American higher education is in crisis.

The update, formerly known as the “Space Availability Survey,” is a list of colleges belonging to the association that are still accepting freshmen or transfer applicants, or both, for the fall. It was released on Tuesday and will be updated by the association, known as NACAC,…

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How a University Overcomes the Challenges of Holistic Admissions

Denver — Fit is a big deal at Brigham Young University, where the admissions office looks for students who share its values academically, socially, and spiritually. To select those students, the university uses a holistic process that three campus officials described here on Monday during a session at the American Association for Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers’ annual meeting.

Each applicant’s file—stripped of its grades and test scores—is evaluated by more than one reader. Re…

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Giving College a Welcoming Front Door

Maria-Moten-2014 (3)If the enrollment process at a community college isn’t well structured, new students are left to fend for themselves and might not know which options match their goals. In a guest post, Maria S. Moten explains how her college improved its “new-student flow.” Ms. Moten, assistant provost and dean of enrollment services at Harper College, a two-year institution in Illinois, is scheduled to present on this topic at the annual meeting this week of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars an…