Get Ready for Fall 2019

It is June and time for you to look at your overall results of what to expect for fall. You should be saying:


If you are not ready for Fall 2019, you must consider two things:

  • How do we meet our goals for Fall 2019?
  • How will we meet our goals for Fall 2020?

If your results are not satisfactory for the coming year, they are not likely to be better for the following year. You do not want to carry your poor results along, and there is an old adage that says:

  • Rarely can the people who created the problem solve it, especially if it is complex.

And you and your staff created it. Enrollment and student success issues are always complex, and this article is directed at providing some options to think about for meeting your goals this year and doing better next year –and you do not have much time to get to work and get things going.

In May the director went to the technical staff and asked them to change some data. They did not know what to do and went to a trusted faculty member, who then went to the President.

The president immediately dismissed the director.

This was an easy decision but was complicated by the fact that there was no replacement available, and the administration had already said that enrollment would be down. The incident left a feeling of mistrust about admissions and data throughout the summer and into the next year.

Today, given the bribery accusations facing admissions offices and the competition for students faced in all institutions, one needs to be very honest about issues related to numbers and what to do. If one does not act now on poor enrollments for Fall 2019, it will be too late in September and many innocent people will be hurt – often not those who caused the problem.

The Desired State for Enrollment

Identify what the desired state is for number of enrollments:

  • New Fall 2019
    • Freshmen
    • Transfers
    • Masters
    • Doctoral
    • Non degree seeking (we expect that number to go up this year at many schools)
    • Continuing
    • Freshmen
    • Sophomores
    • Juniors
    • Post graduates
    • Continuing education
    • Off Site
    • Special Programs

Great care must be taken with this data. You must re-look at budget calculations to be certain income and budget figures are up -to-date. You may find that you are better off t You must not be disturbed in either direction; you just need to know to get out of it

Why did you consider this to be the desired state when originally calculated? The variables may have changed since first being looked at.

Your numbers for recalculating should include issues of gender, quality, distance, etc. Include any variables that are critical to your faculty and others.

Also, be certain how financial aid, housing, and student affairs compare with your new results.

Other Schools

There are two themes to look at for other schools.

You should be able to get some insight as to how other comparable schools are doing. Look at schools that often take your students away from you. They may be willing to share data, but if their enrollment is poor, they may not want to share. Often, they may not want you to know because they want to keep their results secret. This can be especially true if you get your information from faculty.

Another reason schools may not want to share information may be because they are building a new type of program or opportunity. Their numbers would not really be helpful, although you could be interested in seeing their reasoning anyway. Maybe the new ideas will compete with you or they are doing things that you and your institution should consider. The following are some examples for actions we are watching to see what other institutions are doing that may help us.

A plan for “reimaging” the University of Tulsa which administrators rolled out last week is elaborate enough that the website describing it includes multiple infographics, videos, and a link to a frequently-asked questions page.

The University of Tulsa

The University of Tulsa is reimaging itself to focus on their No. 1 priority: student success. This transformation, which is rooted in their five-year strategic plan, radically alters the landscape of their university, making them stronger and better able to respond to a changing higher education landscape.
The number of college-going high school graduates is dropping now. As well, automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, predictive analytics, advances in the neurosciences and cybersecurity will be major influencers in the job market and, therefore, the work of universities. TU is looking ahead to prepare students not just for the 21st century, but the 22nd century.

University of Akron

“As the university ends what it deems unpopular degrees, it is leaning into a current trend on college campuses: competitive video gaming, known as esports. On Thursday, Akron announced that it would open three facilities to accommodate varsity, club, and recreational gamers. The university said the centers would represent ‘the largest amount of dedicated esports space of any university in the world to date.’
Five inaugural varsity teams will compete this fall in the video games Overwatch, League of Legends, Hearthstone, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Rocket League. The games explore themes of fantasy and horror; thwarting insidious terrorist plots; and soccer with rocket-powered cars.”

The University of Southern New Hampshire

This University plans to move from a small university to 300,000 students in five years, all accredited and all online. It will be a world wide effort


Finally, Purdue University has become global after buying a for-profit, online university – Kaplan University. They then changed their name. and are now known as Purdue Global.


Sharing will be critical, and it will be important to maintain trust and confidence in your work. Prepare your data in charts and graphs with a clear but short narrative. You want people to be enthusiastic, not depressed about the situation. Graphs of inquiries, applications, confirms, enrolled should be used showing what has happened. This would show good planning and effort. If you share conversion rates, you will need to explain, at some time how you will improve them.

Your efforts to improve will need to reflect the reality of your data and the reality of your school.

Also remember that there is very little direct cause and effect in a college or university. There are usually multiple causes and effects that make the results highly variable. Therefore it takes time to come to successful actions and why the people who created the problem with their thinking and actions can rarely think their way out of it.

As you work out your numbers you may find that you are closer to the desired state than you thought because numbers change, and costs and expenses change. On the other hand, you may find that the number, even if obtained, would not have been enough to support the school’s programs; enrollment management is such a cruel, confusing world!

Whatever the situation, you will need to evaluate your next year’s numbers very carefully; the headache does not go away. You will likely need more students next year and the budget may not be there to support your work.

People will need to be encouraged throughout the process and the data may make them more anxious. The chances are that they have been anxious for a long time and the data just makes it worse.

Actions for Fall 2019

As far as possible, anything done during the summer should also impact enrollment efforts for the following year, fall 2020. This is especially important for training and development of staff.

The Pool of People for Fall 2019

Inquiries who have not taken any action since January 2019 should be targeted. A mailing of a survey to all inquiries could also be done that asks about what they have done in terms of choosing their enrollment and why.

You must follow up to other groups who have not responded. Cards. calls, letters, visits, phones can be used. You need to let people know that there are openings available and that Financial aid is still available — if it is.

You must hold events such as:

  • Campus days
  • Open houses
  • On Campus Events

This is a good opportunity for parents and families to meet faculty, financial aid, librarians, and any other people students and families would want to talk with.

Potential students seemed to especially like these events.
This year—they liked to attend them with their parents. This is a time to set up a personal plan for their student and themselves.

Phone calls, emails mailings could also be part of the effort. There should always be some sort of personal action if a student responds.

Volunteers may be needed if you plan to use the phone to call or have mailings. Anyone who responds in any way must be contacted IMMEDIATELY and energetically and with high quality.

You should include present students in your contacts. You cannot assume that all returning students will be back. Remember, relationship management is the name of the business.


Data is essential for discussing and making decisions about what you are going to do. The quality of your data will help to build trust and confidence in what you are doing.

Surveys can be conducted during the early period of summer; make certain you do it early so you will be able to use the information immediately. You can ask what people did and why they did it. You can also ask what their ideal school would be like.

We would recommend that you should do especially focus groups or small groups to help you define words such as “high quality“or “good faculty” and to ask questions about what these students are going to do and what will motivate them to attend. Often, expressions from these types of sessions can be used directly in publications or letters

Building Relationships

Look at this Flow System: it represents how relationships are built and maintained over long periods of time.

Overall Look at Content of the Enrollment Management Effort

The people who have not acted are potential students


Awarded Aid
Pack Components

credit < full-time








  • Viewbook
  • Department
  • Student Life
  • Athletics
  • Cost
  • Other


  • Phone
  • Visit to School
  • On-campus Visit
  • Home Visit
  • Focus Group?


  • Faculty
  • Student
  • Staff/Alumnae


Total Contacts

Social media systems

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Snapchat
  • Instagram


Remaining Budget Total

Planning for Fall 2019 and Spring/Summer 2020

Staffing complete

Staff Development
May to October 2019
October 2019 to May 2020


Majors: Special Majors, Health, etc.

Services: Advising (very important), Student Success program

Ecosystem: What is culture like, supportive, energetic?

Brand / Image: Is there a positive word that describes the school?


Learning about potential students

How do they learn about your school?

Learning faculty and staff

  1. Conduct focus groups to obtain qualitative data. What do people value?
  2. Watch the enrollment data weekly
  3. Do surveys in the Spring
  4. Pay attention to what people are saying on campus

Training and Staff Development

    The following are concepts to be presented and used in the workshop:
Enrollment ManagementTo understand that area of enrollment management and the counselors’ role in this type of approach Being able to deal with the limited role of the counselor in this type of approach

General communication model

Product issues:

  • System concept
  • Levels
These areas all require the same basic types of skills, knowledge, and attitudes. These will be summarized below.
Working wiht influentials
Using groups
Stress management

Student School:

  • Faculty
  • Services
  • Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Environment
  • Process



Stress Management

Stress management
Like school
Like job
Hard work is good
Four-box model
Time use
The warrior mentality
Selling styles
Buying readiness
Action research
Winning attitudes
Planning Strategy:
  • Goals
  • Strategies
  • Actions

Tai Chi
Breathing movement

Often the people involved in enrollment programs are not prepared for the experience. They often need to accumulate knowledge of the school and knowledge of themselves.  Some of the best people we have seen in enrollment like to work with people.  They can make instant connections – listen carefully –and then act.


Carson, D. On Design and Discovery. TED Talks.

Dosal, P., Ingersoll, D., Ingersoll, R.  2012. “Institutional Change: Developing a Student Success Program.” SEM: Transforming Higher Education. AACRAO.

Ingersoll, R., and Ingersoll, D. 2012. “Increasing Value through Personnel Training and Learning.” SEM: Transforming Higher Education. AACRAO.

Ingersoll, R., and Ingersoll, D. 2012. “SEM and Change Management.” SEM: Transforming Higher Education. AACRAO.

Sinek, S. How Great Leaders Inspire Action. Ted Talks.

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