The Reality of Admissions at Siena Heights University
Spotlight on George Wolf, VP for Enrollment Management
George Wolf was a recent college graduate when the provost of his alma mater, Kentucky Wesleyan, approached him about an open position in the admissions office. Over 20 years later, Wolf is Vice President for Enrollment Management at Siena Heights University, a private, faith-based institution in Adrian, Michigan. The University receives between four and five thousand applications a year across its three colleges.
Admissions is just one of the SHU offices that reports to Wolf; his typical day includes reviewing progress and discussing strategic enrollment management issues that impact the efforts of enrollment management. His team is responsible for managing their own territories via Liaison’s Enrollment Management Platform (EMP), coordinating their territorial efforts with the macro nurturing efforts of the admissions office and working in partnership with SHU’s financial aid officers to award potential students.
“We try to engage a truly integrated approach to our recruitment efforts, meaning our professionals are much more than straight recruiters,” says Wolf. He believes admissions staff members must be self-motivated, hard-working and competitive. “This is a tough business, which relies on [admissions professionals] for revenue success.”
Though Wolf and his team do their best to be prepared for the unpredictable nature of admissions, new challenges can arise daily. Recently, SHU transitioned their graduate and professional studies office to EMP, which not only required training on the technology, but on a new recruitment philosophy. Since the training, SHU has been focused on better segmenting their nurture flows and driving activity to personalized URLs (PURLs). “This emphasis has really helped us to improve engagement with applicants,” says Wolf.
Siena Heights has also been using EMP’s Private Social Network (PSN) tool for a few years. “It has been an incredible yield tool for the school,” says Wolf. “It is so useful to connect new students with each other. We have seen roommate matches develop, and in a number of cases, it has brought additional students to the University. We use it for purely social reasons, to help new students gain a better sense of what is happening on the Siena campus and how some of our students feel about being here.”
Wolf believes that working in enrollment is a double-edged sword. “The best part is always working with prospective students who are excited about college, while the toughest part is working with those same students if they are unable to attend because of an unexpected obstacle.” He suggests that other colleges and universities strive to truly understand their institutions to best prepare them for discussions with prospective students and their families:
“Creating expectations that are untrue are counterproductive to strong enrollment management.”
What is the reality of admissions at Siena Heights University? “You are part of a high pressure environment where you are rarely fully appreciated, but involved with a lot great people who make it fun,” says Wolf.