TargetX Account Executive, Laura Kalinkewicz shared her thoughts on the recently released Survey of College and University Admissions Directors. As a former director of admissions herself, Laura had some interesting insight on what the report means for the future of recruitment.
As we head into the NACAC conference, I think it’s important that everyone read the analysis of the annual Directors of Admission survey.
Some key points from the survey include:
- Most of the folks who are going to be here at NACAC are struggling–66% of private, non-profit schools failed to meet enrollment goals on May 1.
- Liberal arts colleges are struggling to demonstrate value and navigate conversations about debt. How much of that has to do with data silos and practices on campus?
- Perhaps as a result of enrollment shortfalls, net tuition revenue declines, and a skepticism about the value of higher education (especially private higher education), colleges reported they were more actively recruiting and targeting full pay students than they were minority students. This is an important philosophical and tactical conversation we should be having!
My key takeaway from my time in admissions–the myth of the “full pay” student is bunk. Even wealthy students are expecting merit aid and are discount shopping. These students are also applying to upwards of 15 schools and will be admitted to all of them in exchange for a higher percentage of net tuition revenue. Merit aid and discounting is an arms race that won’t fix the image or revenue problem among liberal arts institutions.
Rather than trying to find the solution outside of recruiting practices, colleges need to turn inward, collect and leverage better data, and refine practices and people to engage students on a personal level so they become invested in a particular school–making them active buyers, rather than passive shoppers.
Colleges and universities should be asking themselves, what are we doing to differentiate ourselves from the other 14 schools on a student’s list, and how are we putting the student experience first?