Admissions and Faculty Collaboration: A Tool for Enrollment Success
Tracey Dysart Ford
Vice President of University Partnerships (South)
It seems no matter how large or small the university, the connection between faculty and the enrollment team is paramount. In a time when so many are questioning the value of higher education, the faculty are key to admissions and recruitment success.
While most of us understand that academic marketing and faculty interaction should be a part of the recruitment plan for graduate and adult learners, a big opportunity is missed if collaboration is not also sought for the traditional undergraduate recruitment program. Parents and students need to see the value of the education they’re considering investing in, and faculty can deliver this message better than anyone.
A recent focus group study from enrollmentFUEL showed that students wanted colleges and universities to focus less on selling the experience and more on selling the education. This is relevant for juniors and seniors.
Often, students fail to self-select meeting with a faculty member during their on-campus visit and are much more likely to want to meet with a coach than with a professor. However, time with a faculty member can be a vital opportunity to tip the balance and make a difference in the decision to attend.
We all know the earning potential over a lifetime for a person with a bachelor’s degree is significantly more than for someone who has a high school diploma. Your faculty can and should serve as a strong resource as you make the case for their academic program’s long-term ROI. Spending time with a faculty member also facilitates the development of a strong relationship between that faculty member and student before they have even enrolled. This type of early bond can be a powerful retention tool because it helps students feel like they already have a supporter on-campus and in the classroom rooting for their success.
While admission counselors provide program overviews about academic majors, it is most unlikely they can be a subject-matter expert for every major and program. Faculty are the best providers of information when it comes to the academic advantages of individual programs. They can share stories of what alumni from their program are doing today and recommend what professional organizations will be most beneficial for students to participate in as they build their resume.
Whether it be traditional undergraduate or graduate admission, faculty participation is different for each audience and at each stage of the recruitment cycle. Faculty are key to convert undergraduate students during their senior year of high school and after application submission. For graduate and adult learners, faculty are key starting with the very first inquiry. The audiences are very different, so plan accordingly to ensure your collaborative recruitment efforts with faculty go smoothly and are positioned for maximum impact.
If you recognize missed collaborative recruiting opportunities with your faculty, consider ways to address them for the next recruiting cycle and don’t be surprised if the benefits far surpass simply meeting your institution’s recruitment goal. Opportunities to collaborate open the door to improved information sharing, better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of colleagues outside of your usual operational sphere, and improved outlook as each area has an opportunity to witness the passion and dedication of the other. Finally, if you are blessed to already have faculty committed to being an integral part of the recruitment process, be sure to let them know how important a role they play, and how valued and appreciated they are.