As an admission and enrollment professional, you have a tremendous amount of responsibility on your shoulders. From building relationships with potential candidates and hosting campus visits to monitoring, analyzing, and reporting enrollment performance to top executives, your job is a cornerstone of the institution you serve.
But while you do plenty of important work behind the scenes and touch nearly every area of the organization, you’re not always involved in or privy to conversations happening during those decision-making meetings. This means senior stakeholders may not be aware of the admissions and enrollment management challenges you’re facing, or how helping you overcome these obstacles can help your school meet its objectives.
It’s time you took your seat at the table and made your voice heard. But how?
Here are four things you can do to ensure you’re getting the support you need to meet your goals.
Think Beyond the Admission and Enrollment Silo
Admissions and enrollment management leaders are busy people. Often, you’re so inundated with your many day-to-day duties that it’s hard to step back and take a high-level view of the school as a whole. The admission process is made up of many components that can quickly become all-consuming.
It’s difficult to stay abreast of the challenges and wins taking place outside your office. But if you want to demand your seat at the decision-making table, you need to recognize how your efforts directly impact other departments.
For example, by boosting strategic enrollment management (SEM) efforts, you can increase retention rates. Not only does high retention help the school meet financial goals (which the finance department wants to hear), but it also improves the reputation of the institution (which the marketing department likes to see).
Get into the Heads of the Decision-Makers
As you venture outside your silo, start to consider the individual goals and pain points of each department leader. The better you can speak to others’ challenges (and offer possible solutions), the more you’ll be seen as a critical voice in the decision-making process.
For example, how do your enrollment numbers contribute to the overall revenue of the school? Or, how does financial aid impact net tuition revenue? The more specific you can be when discussing these matters, the better.
If you’re ever unsure about specific objectives, start having conversations with people in other departments. The more you familiarize yourself with their processes and goals, the better you can connect them to your own.
Learn to Talk Tech
What sorts of technologies are other departments using to meet their needs, and is there any opportunity for overlap?
For example, school admissions software will not only keep candidate information organized, but will also help you handle contracts and registration, track key performance metrics, and build reports. The best student enrollment management systems also offer API integrations with other software your school may already use, like Blackbaud, Diamond Mind, FACTS management, SSAT, and more.
It’s also a good idea to fully educate yourself on any software or tools you’re interested in implementing so you can make an airtight case. For example, knowing what a CRM can do and being able to explain its benefits will help earn buy-in from senior stakeholders.
Don’t Back Down
Finally, recognize the value you bring to the team and be prepared to explain your achievements to others, too. Consider compiling data to show your progress and your results. If you’re asking for a larger budget or you want the school to invest in admissions and enrollment management technology to make your job easier, provide projections and plans. Explain how you will be more efficient and how that efficiency will help contribute to overarching organizational objectives.
As someone largely responsible for steering the direction of the school, you deserve a set at the table. It’s up to you to demand it.
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