90 Days In: Key Issues for Enrollment Managers

Nov 28, 2023

My career in higher education has been filled with rich experiences that support enrollment managers and other campus leaders across the country. During my 30+ years in this space, I have been fortunate to serve directly on college campuses as well as in a consultant/mentor/coach capacity on the vendor side, and most recently as the Chief Growth Officer for Liaison. In this role, I lead our team to offer solutions that drive enrollment growth. We do this in a variety of ways, but at the core, it is about removing barriers and improving processes to increase access and student success.

As I reach my 90-day milestone with Liaison, three themes continue to emerge.

  1.  Data and analytics have always been important, but they are critical today as is the need to develop your AI strategy.
  2. Enrollment strategies must adapt to meet the needs of a consumer-driven market. Continuing to do the same thing will not lead to success.
  3. We need to lead the national conversation on the value of a college degree by doubling down on student access and success

Data, analytics, and AI should drive enrollment strategy.

Using data in decision making is not a new concept of course, but the amount of data that is available for both predictive analytics and prescriptive actions is so much greater. Enrollment leaders are faced with serious budget and staffing challenges that make the need to be more strategic and efficient imperative. Finding solutions to meet these challenges is part of nearly every conversation we have with campuses today and is why Othot, Liaison’s Responsible AI solution, is in such high demand. Our software and services identify who is most likely to enroll and persist. This allows our partners to focus on which students and strategies will yield the greatest positive outcomes. There is really no time or money to waste in this environment, so at Liaison, we rely on our talented team of data scientists and enrollment experts to guide strategy.

Continuing to do the same thing expecting a different result is STILL the insanity principle.

Enrollment leaders are optimists. We would likely not stay in this challenging profession if we weren’t. However, sometimes our optimism means we repeat the same strategies expecting a better result, and that simply doesn’t work, especially not in this competitive environment. My experience working with over 200 college campuses during my career tells me that this continues to be a problem because little time is set aside to plan and strategize. Given the amount of work to be done, the pressure to meet enrollment and net tuition goals, and the staffing challenges facing campuses, it makes sense to seek a partner who can help. Our team of experts at Liaison, with deep and broad experience in graduate, undergraduate, community college, public, and private higher education is here to help.

College IS worth it but we need to increase access and success.

There is little question that we have a perception problem. Increasing numbers of Americans continue to say that college isn’t worth the cost. Why is that? Significant data demonstrates that earnings of college graduates are higher than those without a degree, and they are more likely to have jobs that offer paid vacation, benefits and flexible work arrangements. Furthermore, data supports that college graduates volunteer more, vote more frequently and choose healthier lifestyles. In my experience, part of our challenge lies in our own internal processes that often create barriers rather than access.

As enrollment leaders, we need to ask ourselves (and our students) a few questions:

  •  When was the last time you looked at your application process?

  • How easy is it for students to transfer into or out of your institutions?

  • When was the last time you asked your current students about internal barriers to success?

  • Have you reached out to students who started at your institution—or elsewhere—yet did not finish?

It is our collective responsibility to open more doors for students and create clear pathways for success. That is our mission at Liaison. We are here to simplify  your processes, help you remove barriers, and work with you to make strategic decisions with the limited resources you have. Together we can shape the future of higher education and our society as a whole.

If you are interested in continuing the conversation or scheduling a complimentary Total Enrollment Workshop on your campus click the link below.

Image of Chief Growth Officer at Liaison, Sarah Coen with a description of her past experience "Before joining Liaison, Coen was senior vice president of consulting services at Ruffalo Noel Levitz (RNL). Previously, she was vice president for strategic initiatives and enrollment management at Transylvania University, dean of enrollment at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and director of admissions at Commonwealth College. She has an MBA from Central Michigan University."

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Over the last three decades, Liaison has helped over 40,000 programs on more than 1,200 campuses more effectively manage admissions through its Centralized Application Service (CAS™) technology and complementary application processing and support services. The higher education technology leader supports its partner institutions’ total enrollment goals by pairing CAS with its Enrollment Marketing (EM) platform as well as the recently acquired TargetX (CRM) and advanced analytics software Othot.