Three topics we’re addressing in higher education admissions

Admissions departments are on the front line of bringing a college’s vision to life for students. Department representatives are often the first—and most familiar—faces a student encounters, underscoring the importance of the value and opportunity that admissions counselors bring.

As the associate vice president of admissions and operations for TCS Education System, I work closely with each of our partner colleges to develop comprehensive recruitment plans and improve their unique admissions processes. Recently, we hosted an admissions summit to learn with and from each other.

Admissions directors from our five active partner colleges and I met with key TCS leadership to identify the impact our community has on student success and how we can continue to grow as The Community Solution in Higher Education. jeremy confer

We identified three pressing issues in the world of higher ed admissions and discussed ways to address them.

1. Successful onboarding and training
Bringing someone new onto the admissions team is always an exciting time—full of promise and possibility, but it requires purposeful and strategic training. An admissions team member must possess sufficient knowledge about the college and programs offered—but even more about the culture and other little-known features that the school has to offer.

We recently implemented System-wide training modules instead of campus-specific training meetings. This ensures a seamless process for team members to receive the information they need in easy-to-follow segments, while also staying aligned to the brand. The significance of this brand training assures that faculty members remain our biggest brand advocates.

2. Brand advocacy
While traditional and digital marketing are the most important tools in our recruitment arsenal, our focus is broadening to include brand advocacy. By ensuring the student and staff experiences are positive from end-to-end, we build word-of-mouth champions for our colleges that directly correlate with retention.

The faculty are the best brand advocates we have. They’re the driving force behind the quality of education and community we offer, and we want to bring them into the admissions process early on. Utilizing faculty expertise and allowing them to voice the positive sentiment they have about the college and their particular subjects is a key component to a successful admissions process. If you let your faculty and their work speak for themselves, you won’t be disappointed.

3. Power in collaboration
Higher education is undergoing a radical transformation. Colleges and school systems are closing at an alarming rate. How can we predict the future? The answer is, we can’t—not with 100% accuracy. But with our unique community of campuses in 12 cities and online, each with distinctive programming and students, we can provide an in-depth, diverse examination of the past and an estimation for the future.

Our leaders participated in an engaging discussion about their current student bodies and where they believe their future lies. By working together as a System, we have access to large data tables that are vital in helping us plan our futures. From enrollment to tuition, to student graduation and employment, collaboration allows us to see the larger cultural ecosystem and brainstorm ideas to meet enrollment goals.

In the current higher ed environment, the most important factor to remember for us and any successful organization is the devotion to cross-collaboration. No matter the issue at hand, prioritizing this type of collaboration ensures success for admissions and, most importantly, students.