#EMchat Meet #CareerServChat – August 21st!

We’re excited to partner up with the #CareerServChat team for our chat on August 21st to discuss how student outcomes are affecting recruitment strategies and how these two divisions can work together toward common goals.

Elizabeth Dexter-Wilson kicked this topic off on #CareerServChat’s August 14th chat and we’re looking forward to continuing the conversation!

Pulled directly from their site, #CareerServChat is a Twitter chat dedicated to engaging college students and graduates in the career development process and answering career and job related questions. The professionals facilitating #CareerServChat support the use of career services offices and resources at colleges and universities.

Here’s the transcript of the chat:

Here are the questions for tonight’s chat:

Q1: How have you seen student outcomes affect your recruitment efforts?
Q2: What’s the collaboration level between EM/Career Services on your campus? How has this evolved?
Q3: Does career services participate in EM events (open houses, admitted student day, etc.) on your campus?
Q4: What information or support do you look for from your career services? What about from EM?
Q5: Should any particular office be “in charge” of discussing with students the value/ROI of careers from your institution?
Q6: Have you had any negative experiences stemming from the need to promote outcomes? Either from faculty or students?

And as always, feel free to bring your own questions to the party…and a drink. That’s always a necessity.

Still not sold on the role of student outcomes in the world of recruitment? Check out this post on 2014 Trends from our friends over at The Lawlor Group — read them all, but definitely Trend 3!

See you on Thursday!

Gardens, Growth, and Summer Melt

In addition to the projects like #EMchat, leadpath, and you know, being a new dad, I’ve taken on a new project this summer: turning my patio into a patio farm. I’m about as extroverted as a person can be, but even I need to kick back and take some personal time for 30 minutes each day. My favorite time to do this is at dusk with a good summer brew.

I started my vegetable garden because I’m a vegetable fanatic. Mostly, I’m a food fanatic. But vegetables take the number two spot on my list (crabs win, hands down). My Poppop was a farmer. He grew wheat, soybeans, and corn. And while that filled up a few hundred acres, some of my earliest memories were walking with him in his garden, picking fresh vegetables and fruits to take back to my Gram who would clean, cut, cook, and serve them.

There’s an obvious sense of pride that comes from watching something grow; something that comes from an idea, has to be cultivated, tended to, and refined. I think about this when I’m out there each night watering and caring for the plants. And while I’m there checking on the number of cucumbers growing (something I’m a little obsessive over) or noticing a new tomato that seemingly grew during the day when I wasn’t home, I’m also drawing parallels to all aspects of my life.


I like to think of my life in a perpetual stage of growth, as I’m sure most people do. I’m constantly looking for ways to improve. There are always things to learn and people to meet. And when it comes to people, I’m a cultivator of relationships.

That’s the business of enrollment management.

When I found myself using my garden as a metaphor for higher education, I thought two things: 1) this is really cliché, and 2) I’m supposed to be unplugged and focusing on training the snap peas. But then I just let the thoughts happen. I’m glad I did.

I don’t want a garden that only has squash. I don’t want one type of tomato. I want vegetables that require space. I also want those that can be grown in close quarters. I want the challenge of using support apparatuses (specifically chose not to use the word cage, here J), or figuring out how the plants can make use of the space already available. I don’t want my garden to self-maintain. I want to prune and pluck and refine. I want the challenge of helping my garden to thrive while allowing it to nourish my hunger, both physical and mental.

All of the parallels are there for building a class of students that will not only show up in August, but succeed on your campuses. Melt is an inevitable fact of the summer months and now isn’t the time to stop cultivating the soil. Focus on the foundation of the relationships you’ve built over the last few months and keep them going. My summer garden will end in early October. Yours has about four years to go.

And if you’re looking for some tips on how to combat summer melt, there’s always this.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

UPDATE: Arthur Arzola Scholarship

About a month ago, we launched a fundraising campaign to honor Arthur Arzola’s passion for promoting college access to first-generation and low-income students. We set an initial goal of $500 to provide a need-based book scholarship to an incoming first-generation Humboldt student.

We ended up raising $1,025.

We’ve been in touch with the IA team at Humboldt about the best approach to offer this scholarship and will keep you updated.

While we initially intended on closing the donation option on May 16th, we have since decided to keep it open until we receive direction on the path forward from HSU. This will likely occur in the next day or so. If you would like to contribute before we officially close donations, feel free to click the button below.

Thanks to everyone who participated and we’ll have an update for you as soon as we hear back.

#EMchat and the higher education community have once again blown us away with the level of generosity and passion for creating opportunities for all students, regardless of their background.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!



Our initial post can be found here.

Tagged , , , , , ,

#EMchat: An Online Panel Discussion on Predictive Modeling

We’re pushing this out pretty early, but for really good reason. Over the last few years, there has been a push for #EMchat to branch out beyond the chat. So, we developed the blog. Then we started holding tweetups (locally) and at conferences. Then the push came for an Unconference-esque #EMchat. We’re still working on that.

But to get there, we’re testing out something new and hope you’ll join in.

On May 8th at 9PM EST, we’ll be holding our first chat via webinar. We’ve teamed up with the great folks over at Rapid Insight to hold a panel on predictive modeling. If you’re not familiar with Rapid Insight, here’s just a sampling of what they do in the higher ed realm.

Predictive modeling has been a popular topic for us in the past, but we also usually get a bunch of questions in addition to those planned. This panel will give you the opportunity to talk directly to some of the #EMchat data gurus as well as professionals who work with data on a daily basis.

Our panel will parallel the approach taken by Rapid Insight in their #DataTalk series, except, well, we’ll probably have beer involved.

While the panel will certainly offer you the opportunity to directly as questions, we’ll also source questions up to the event, making every attempt possible to answer as many as we can.

The experts panel (as we’re deeming it) is currently being built, but we will be sure to update this post with our panelists as we sign them on.

Make sure you submit any questions you have about predictive modeling in the comments section below so we can work them into the chat!

See you (literally) on May 8th!

Thinking about joining? –> #EMchat: An Online Panel Discussion on Predictive Modeling

Arthur Arzola Scholarship – Humboldt State University

Arthur-ArzolaLast week’s accident involving a bus filled with students traveling to Humboldt State University really struck home for many of us in the higher education space. It hit even harder when we discovered that one of the victims was an EM pro in every sense of the word. Arthur Arzola was an advocate. He was compassionate. He was filled with a passion for the field. He wanted to see students succeed. And, he put his everything into his role as an admissions representative at Humboldt State, reaching out to those students who had the potential, but needed the extra push.

From all of the wonderful stories we’ve read about Arthur and from the testimonies of his co-workers and friends, we know he was the push those students needed. In fact, he was also the pull, going directly into their communities and bringing them right back to his campus.

Arthur got what admissions is all about.

He may have never participated in #EMchat–who knows, he may not have ever heard of us. But, he was one of us.

And, we want to do something to honor him. A card and flowers seemed the likely route, but after mulling over some more ideas, Jennielle, Jillian, and I came up with something more fitting. A scholarship in Arthur’s name, benefiting the students he sought to provide guidance to–first generation.

We don’t have any cool t-shirts this time, but you can be sure that we’ll be donating the full amount of money raised to Humboldt State. If we raise a few hundred dollars, super. We’ll provide a book scholarship. If we raise more, even better. We’ll offset the cost of college, continuing Arthur’s mission to open the door to dreams, potential, and success for hardworking, deserving students.

We’ll be running this fundraiser until May 16th and will keep you updated on our communication with Humboldt state regarding the initiative and our success along the way.

Inside Higher Ed’s Scott Jaschik had a much more eloquent post honoring Arthur earlier this week.

Please share this campaign with your colleagues and your friends. The higher education community is a tight knit one. Let’s come together for a phenomenal cause for a phenomenal man.


Digitally Driven Admissions & Data

I’m particularly excited for this week’s #EMchat because it centers on one of the things I love most, modernization and leaning forward.

In the last decade, the enrollment management world has seen a massive shift toward a serious focus on data. As admissions is the starting point for students in the college search, it really makes sense that this portion of the industry is blazing the digital path for all higher education to get on board. That’s not to say that other parts of the higher ed world aren’t on board with data and digital, it’s just my opinion that admissions leads the pack.

And to dissuade anyone from posting that I don’t know what I’m talking about because MOOCs are leading the digital advance of higher ed, my previous post makes it pretty clear that MOOCs (once again, in my opinion) are only a fraction of the #edtech movement.

This week we’ll be talking all things digital.

But, to get us started…..

Tagged , , , , ,

Coming in for a landing: Helicopter parents and the admissions process

Ashley Gunn currently works as an admissions counselor with the University of Vermont admissions team. In her role, she manages the student recruitment for Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey. She also works on the Diversity admissions staff and supports on-campus programs and events for prospective students from underrepresented groups. Ashley received her Masters in Education from the University of Vermont and her Bachelor of Arts in English at the University of Florida. She currently lives in Burlington, Vermont with the best dog in the world.

Ashley Gunn currently works as an admissions counselor with the University of Vermont admissions team. In her role, she manages the student recruitment for Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey. She also works on the Diversity admissions staff and supports on-campus programs and events for prospective students from underrepresented groups. Ashley received her Masters in Education from the University of Vermont and her Bachelor of Arts in English at the University of Florida. She currently lives in Burlington, Vermont with the best dog in the world.

Helicopter parents.

You can almost guarantee that bringing up this term among a group of college admissions officers will bring you a fair share of eye rolls and horror stories. Before transitioning into the field of enrollment management, I worked in the field of student affairs. My career focus was on developing the mind, body and souls of eager college students. As you can imagine, our field was becoming increasingly concerned about the emergence of parents who were so ensconced in their parental roles that they were supplanting their students place in the developmental experience of college. Calling professors to argue about grades, showing up on campus to wash their students’ clothes, stepping in at any sign of discomfort or distress in a way that was seriously hampering our ability to develop college students into independent and able people. As I began my transition into my role as an admissions counselor, veteran professionals began to prepare me for dealing with the notorious helicopter parents that would I would surely encounter. However, after almost a year in my position my negative feelings and judgments towards parents during the admissions process have all but dissipated. In its place is a growing sense of compassion, endearment and respect for the role that parents and families can play in this process.

Long heralded as the villains, helicopter parents are, more often than not, an admissions officer’s best friend. Unlike the college years when a student is transitioning into an adult with adult expectations and responsibilities, the admissions process occurs at a time when a student is on the cusp of adulthood but still in the midst of adolescence. Additionally, parents play a much more central role in this process because 1. They can sometimes know their students better than they know themselves 2. They tend to lead the charge with both their organization and funding of trips to visit colleges and 3. As college costs rise, deciding where to go often becomes a family decision. I’ve found that high school students are very able and many are focused enough to make an informed decision about what college they want to attend but most students are lost, anxious and confused and eager for guidance that needs to come from someone other than the admissions counselor they met for 10 minutes at a college fair.

I admit that when I answer the phone or open an email and notice it’s from a parent I cringe a little. I can’t help but wonder what the student is thinking and how , if at all, the parent is supporting this student to be more involved in their college search process. But after engaging with parents I come away understanding that parents and families have just as many concerns as prospective students. They are trying to find a place in a process that ends with them taking on a very different role in their child’s life then they one they have assumed for the past 18 years. Sometimes the anxiety they unknowingly give to their child is an expression of their own desire to find a place for their student that will provide them the security and foundation for success that they have been responsible for.

It’s obvious to me that parents feel somewhat guilty or ashamed of inserting themselves into their child’s college selection process. As they awkwardly try to push their child to ask more questions, or pretend to be their child over the phone or through email I have wondered about more productive and helpful ways admissions offices can find a place for parents and families to ask their questions and ease their anxieties. Creating a “space” for parents and families in the admissions process helps admissions offices, parents and students who desperately want their dad to stop asking questions about “frat” parties during an information session. Research on helicopter parents has shown that they tend to be highly educated meaning this isn’t their first rodeo. In the back of their mind is the college experience (the good and the bad) and they have more nuanced questions that student may not know to ask.

Through the power of google, I found a few colleges who seem to be providing the right kind of space for parents and families to be involved in the college admissions process:

University of Virginia: http://www.admission.virginia.edu/parents

I like the way UVA outlines information for parents in an accessible way. Nothing is more frustrating than having a question and trying to navigate some schools labyrinth like website to locate it. I often get questions from parents about how their students will be advised and what activities they will be able to participate in. UVA presents that information clearly and in one location.

University of Iowa: http://admissions.uiowa.edu/parents-family

Iowa has a great resource on their Parent and Family section called “Why Iowa.” This whole process is about helping students find the best fit and this resource is given from a parent’s perspective. It outlines all those fun facts parents like to know like outcomes and graduating on time and it does it in one location.

University of Kansas: http://admissions.ku.edu/parents

What KU does right is let parents know that they are an important piece of the process: You’re the expert. They also touch on the issues that are most important for parents and families – price, safety, academic quality and outcomes.

According to the laws of biology, parents, families and prospective students are a packaged deal. How is your institution communicating with them and making creating a safe landing spot for the ever circling “helicopter parents.”


Tagged , , , , , , ,

The #EDtech Conversation

I had a really interesting conversation last night with Jake from Carnegie Communications. You all are probably pretty familiar with them by now, but if you’re not, I’d recommend (as an outsider to both the company and actual industry) getting acquainted. It’s a pretty legit team. That’s an aside…more like a forward, I guess.

Regardless, Jake and I were having a conversation about ed tech, and our conversation was (for a moment) focused on the fact that when people think “ed tech,” their minds pretty much jump to MOOCs. That’s all people were talking about in 2013. It’s pretty much all that people are still talking about—7 of the 10 most recent articles on Inside Higher Education’s technology page are on MOOCs and online learning. I get it. But ed tech goes FAR beyond this. Technology that supports education involves student tracking systems, predictive modeling, marketing, search, and an array of other tools.

While these tools might not be directly linked to learning, students won’t get to the learning part of college without many of them. And, if they do, maybe they’re learning at the wrong institution, taking the wrong classes, or are ill-prepared for the course load they’ve signed up for. I’m not suggesting that students can’t make good decisions on their own—they can and they do every day.

What I’m suggesting is that there are so many tools available to institutions that can optimize the student experience. We’re in an age of being able to build and track phenomenal relationships, effectively learn from historical data, and predict future outcomes, thus building more attainable and focused strategies. Institutions have the tools available to recruit, retain, and graduate students at greater rates. It’s just a matter of having the ability to adopt a new mindset and a willingness to try something new—even if it’s just a demo.

It’s time to start shifting the conversation from MOOCs to a more all-encompassing approach to ed tech.

Keep up with technology. Read up on trends and new products. Respect the fact that your CRM is just as important as the seats (or computers) in the classroom that it helps to fill. Spread the knowledge on your campus. Write a blog. Share an article. Take someone to coffee. Share your passion. Above all, keep your mind open—always.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Coffee (x) = Enrollment Goal: #EMchat Guest Blogger @NL_Spencer

Nathan Spencer (@NL_Spencer)

Nathan Spencer (@NL_Spencer) is in his first year of work in higher education. He is currently an Admissions Counselor at Abilene Christian University, in Abilene, TX. Originally from Missouri, Nathan primarily focuses on out-of-state recruiting. A world traveler and science nerd, he is interested in where diversity and innovation meet to form a better college experience. Nathan holds a B.S. in Psychology from Abilene Christian University.
Nathan is this week’s #EMchat guest: “New to EM?” – join us on April 3rd at 9pm EST/ 8pm CST! 


Congratulations! You’ve just started your new job in enrollment management and must now begin working to achieve your enrollment goal and help “land” the class. Let’s take stock for a minute. Business cards, check. Computer, check. Phone, check. Random desk objects, check. Now that you have all the essentials in place, time to get started!

I have now been an Admissions Counselor for 10 months or about 355.3 cups of coffee. Although this can seem like a very long time in enrollment management when you are new, I can still remember the feeling immediately after I sat down in my brand new office. Now what. Sitting now, in my slightly less new office, many cups of coffee later, I think I have an idea of how to succeed in enrollment management, care

That’s a little simplistic I admit but I think it is what has allowed me to succeed so far and it’s what I see in those veterans that have been in the field much longer than I haveIt’s often said that enrollment management is a a “2 or 20″ field and I think caring is what makes the difference. I care about the general goal of helping connect people with great educational experiences. I care about using my specific university to help give people that great educational experience and I care about helping the individual student find there way to the perfect college fit. 

The fact that I care does not make me a better person, it just means that I have the extraordinary opportunity to love what I do. Because of that, I feel confident in my ability to succeed. As I continue along in the enrollment management world, I hope I never lose that and I hope that my fellow rookies won’t either. 

401.5 by the way. That’s how many cups of coffee I anticipate it will take to help me reach my enrollment goal. A whole lot of coffee topped with some care, that’s what it is going to take. So, what’s it going to take to get you to your goal?  


Nathan is this Thursday’s #EMchat guest: “New to EM?”.  Join us April 3, 2014 at 9pm EST / 8pm CST — use the hash: #EMchat. 

This Week on #EMchat: Enhanced iBooks & New Recruitment Tools

One thing I love about #EMchat is the fact that we get to learn something new each week. We get to see innovative tools in the field and connect with people we may have not known about before. I’m excited to say that one of these companies is Tosler. This week we’ll be welcoming Jake Mueller, co-founder and VP to talk about enhanced iBooks and new recruitment tools. We’ve got a great round of questions planned and are looking forward to seeing what your institutions are using and how your tools have transformed over the last few years. Join in at 9PM ET this Thursday for the conversation! We asked the Tosler team to pull together some thoughts for the post below — it’s a great read!


The world of College Viewbooks is changing. Prospective students are growing up surrounded by technology. They surf the web, read on their devices, and share their lives, all on mobile. These actions center on digital content. They consume digitally. It’s a foreign concept to us old folks, but it’s their world. When the 1 to 1 program was implemented in LA, Students overrode the social media restrictions built by adults. In one day.

As a result, Higher Ed institutions must shift to digital content to reach the up and coming generation. Producing a digital viewbook is the best way to start. There are currently over 10 million iPads in primary-secondary education, 94% of tablets in education are iPads, and the number of 1 to 1 programs is exploding. Not only are these numbers impressive, they are already outdated as of the writing of this article. Some institutions have turned to mobile apps to fill the digital viewbook role (U of Dayton, U of Chicago). With enhanced iBooks, however, converting to digital is not only more affordable, but it is also quicker than producing/out-sourcing a mobile app. Additionally, using enhanced iBooks provides access to the intuitive and popular iBookstore. Many high school students use the iBookstore already for textbook curriculum and general reading. Thus the tech-savvy college reaches the student on their own turf and displays an important generational awareness.

Typical print publications are expensive, less engaging, and provide no analytics. You print the material, mail it off, and never know how many students open the front page or toss it in the trash. With enhanced iBooks, you receive measures of engagement and measures of downloads. Armed with these analytics, colleges can study the effectiveness of their recruitment campaigns or college fair attendance. Real figures for real ROI.

Ultimately high school students eat, live, breath digital. And if they don’t already, they will be in a year. Every Institution of Higher Learning must meet their recruits on mobile. It’s a fact, not a question. The question is, how? 

Enhanced iBooks.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: