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Intelligence must be applied by a high performing enrollment organization to aggressively pursue perfection. If practiced consistently, the use of actionable intelligence along with the other characteristics of a high performing organization will ensure the quality implementation of strategies. Enrollment Management Strategies Enrollment management strategies are often monolithic, growth strategies. In some circumstances the rush to grow is a counterproductive objective. Higher education leaders should heed the advice of many of their business counterparts.
Bigger is better—but only to a point. A more balanced and holistic approach to enrollment strategy is preferable. Because enrollment management is focused on people—those we seek to enroll and those we have enrolled—Whiteside suggests that strategies should be, first and foremost, people-driven. Enrollment Strategy Framework The Enrollment Strategy Framework implies that the starting point for strategy development is to revisit the institution’s mission, vision, existing strategic initiatives, and core values.
Strategies should be aligned with each of the aforementioned or be accompanied with a rationale as to why a strategy is valid regardless of alignment. In addition, enrollment managers should assess the institution’s capacity to seize the strategic opportunity. For enrollment organizations, directional focus should be evident in institutional enrollment objectives. Regardless of the selected methodology, enrollment objectives must be measurable over time. They also must be utilized by enrollment planners as the basis for strategy development and enhancement.
As expressed earlier, strategies in these categories should be developed by target population with the possible exception of retention strategies that may not focus only on high risk students but also high risk experiences. Apply for admission An example of a strategy for students who were once enrolled but have not returned described here provides a more detailed template for strategy development. Creating a High Performing Enrollment Organization Admittedly, there are many factors and antecedents that determine the success of strategies. However, the author is convinced that there is nothing more important than creating the conditions for a high performing enrollment organization to ensure the pervasive, sustainable, quality execution of strategies. Operations Management Beyond the conditions cited above, Graph 2 represents the substantive elements of a high performing enrollment management organization. The first, operations management, adopts a Total Quality Management principle that views processes and strategy implementation as a supply chain. The outputs will be of high quality only if the inputs are of high quality.
The capacity to produce enrollment results is primarily the people charged with implementation. Distribution capacity refers to the capacity to reach and impact the constituents served by an institution. For example, institutions with exemplary learning support services but with minimal student usage produce only a modest influence over learning outcomes and retention. Likewise, even the most powerful marketing message has minimal impact on increasing awareness or enrollments if it is not conveyed with enough frequency. Every strategy has some risk associated with it.
Consequently, it is essential to manage risks where possible. To effectively mitigate risks, enrollment managers must engage in due diligence before implementing strategies. To illustrate, consider risk management in the context of markets for academic programs. Graph 3 demonstrates the inherent risk associated with four possible strategies.
As this graph depicts, the least risk is incurred when pursuing a strategy of further penetrating an existing market with existing programs. Relationship Management Selecting and targeting sounds ominous, but it is critical to designing effective marketing, recruitment, financial aid, student services, and retention strategies. The power in generic, one size fits all strategies is negligible. The author has never encountered an institution that did not engage in some form of outreach. The vast majority of colleges and universities deploy an aggressive, resource-intensive outreach strategy. This does not mean, however, that such outreach activities are effective. The primary purpose of outreach activities should be to generate interest and consequently, inquiries.
Institutions that invest in extensive outreach, generate inquiries, and then provide minimal communication follow-up have a faulty recruitment model. The point is to generate interest and then aggressively cultivate that interest. Relationship cultivation is the most impactful recruitment strategy an institution can deploy. Though it may not be self-evident, retention also is related to relationship management. The literature is replete with studies that have revealed the power of proactively connecting students with faculty, staff, and their peers.
Institutions need to be as intentional about cultivating relationships with current students as they are with prospective students and alumni. Knowledge Management As previously inferred, a high performing enrollment organization requires an investment in human capital. By investing in employee learning, ensuring conditions for high performance exist, and pursuing employee retention strategies, it is possible to maximize human capital. Information capital is frequently misinterpreted to mean training. While training is a component of developing information capital, it has modest value in a complex, ever-changing institutional environment. The currency and retention of information acquired through training is questionable. Developing human capital and managing information is of little consequence if it is not accompanied by a corresponding culture change.