I’m often asked, “What is enrollment management?”
Here is a broad explanation of the term and its components as practiced in the Office of Enrollment Management (OEM) at Perkins.
Enrollment management was first conceived in college admissions offices in the 1970s to address a projected decline in enrollment. By the late 1980s, the concept had grown to include all of the functions necessary to attract and retain students. By the late 1990s, systematic sets of activities were designed to enable educational institutions to exert more influence over their student enrollments and to encompass the totality of the student experience. By then, enrollment management had become an institution-wide, research-based implementation of activities to secure an institution’s future enrollment.
Given the nature of the breadth and scope of the many factors that impact enrollment –demographic trends, admission operations, institutional research – it became clear that institutions needed to connect the larger enrollment picture to the rest of the school, from facilities to data management. Doing so would add to the degree of success that an institution would have from recruitment to graduation.
In my early administrative years as Vice President of Enrollment Management at a college in Iowa in the early 1990s, this was precisely our approach: All departments were key participants in enacting strategies for the success of students, from recruitment to graduation.
The focus of the Office of Enrollment Management at Perkins is recruitment and admission. Financial aid and financial literacy are vital to our work. As important as it is getting students through the door, that is just the beginning. Our particular journey, as a department of enrollment management, began with staffing, review of the admission process and recruitment strategies and staff training. Now, our major emphasis is on optimizing recruitment strategies and making the admission process more efficient. Simply put, these are the building blocks where a significant amount of time must be spent: creating a foundation to grow enrollment and meet admissions goals. Knowing which students to recruit, and how best to help the ones we do, can be a challenge. Good data can help remove the guesswork, so our next step is to develop a roadmap that includes the use of our customer relation management program (Slate, which is employed University-wide) and other institutional data made available to us, in order to facilitate a greater return on our investment of resources.
I believe that, with the performance of current enrollment management elements, we are in a good place, but we understand that we cannot afford to be comfortable simply with the success we have had. We understand that it is naïve to think success is ensured. So we forge ahead to develop a culture that is more nimble and dynamic, to build a process and a mindset of strategic thinking to carry us forward and that will allow us to adjust and change as necessary. In my view, adjustment and change are the true underpinnings of successful enrollment management, essential for success to happen – and even more, to persist.
I hope this explanation is helpful. If you have questions, please contact me at 214-768-3332 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peace and grace,
Rev. Dr. Margot Perez-Greene
Associate Dean of Enrollment Management