Admission Projections: Dartboard or Data?
Amy Clemons, Director of Enrollment Management, The Shipley School, PA
Sylvia Spector, Director of Admissions, The Shipley School, PA
Adam Wojtelwicz, Chief Financial Officer, The Shipley School, PA
Shipley has designed a data-driven projection and budgeting model that combines the resources of our enrollment and business office in a collaborative and strategic manner. In the fall, we begin the process of projecting enrollment for the following year by grade level, utilizing 5- and 10-year enrollment trends, funnel numbers, new student enrollment, and attrition per grade.
These enrollment projections are used in concert with financial aid budgeting by grade for both new and returning students, as a tool to achieve the desired grade-level enrollment and also to reach other mission-driven goals around diversity. Our presentation will share the process we employ in this data-driven model and the collaboration that goes into the process between the enrollment and business offices at the school.
We will review the mechanics behind the work we do, as well as the philosophy behind the combined approach and the details we include in the percentage-based financial aid modeling. Time will be allotted for dialogue and questions on data-driven forecasting and the art and science that is part of this process.
Applications Up, Attrition Down: How a Parent Ambassador Program Can Help You Do Both
Kealey Malott, Assistant Director of Admission, River Oaks Baptist School, TX
Parent ambassadors can be an effective component of your marketing strategy if you invest in training and cultivating parent stories. According to the most recent NAIS Trendbook, "Personal stories remind people about the school's values and purpose."
When a school’s parents are excited about the school and share their stories with others, they are recruiting other families and re-recruiting themselves. We will share how to develop an effective, sustainable parent ambassador program, including ways to drive applications up by inviting parents to participate in specific tasks.
Based on DIGNITY: A Transformational Leadership Model for Enrollment Management
DIGNITY is a seven-pronged comprehensive and transformational model for educational institutions to live more fully who and what we say we are as welcoming, engaging, productive, and mission-focused communities, where all our members -- our students, faculty, staff, board members, families, and prospective families -- feel free to bring and be their full selves.
The 7 tenets of the DIGNITY model are not linear, but rather circular with no specific starting point. Each part is connected to the other and is comprehensive in nature and together, they are adaptable to the many facets of enrollment management, from retention, recruitment and strategic enrollment plans to marketing and branding, issues of social equity and justice, and leadership and strategic visioning.
Eight Enrollment Management Strategies that Work
Jenna Murphy, Marketing and Admissions Counselor, Woodward Academy, GA
This presentation is based on the article of the same name in The Yield, Winter 2017. It provides enrollment strategies for admission professionals that increase retention and enrollment. Strategies consist of: multichannel marketing, predictive modeling, goal setting, customer service and using disciples (parents) to tell the story.
Highlighting the Big Hairy Audacious Changes of Future "Schools"
John Gulla, Executive Director, The Edward E. Ford Foundation
John Gulla and Grant Lichtman have, between them, visited and worked with more than 400 schools in the past four years, and are connected with wide networks of national and international educational leaders, teachers, researchers, and writers. They believe that the next 25 years will bring dramatic, disruptive, inevitable changes to education—changes much greater than the vast majority of school leaders anticipate. In a conversation-style format, they will summarize their key findings of how independent schools can, and indeed must, push their thinking well beyond the horizons of comfortable change and lukewarm innovation if they are to succeed in a significantly altered future educational landscape.
How to Win Students and Influence Parents
Kevin Plummer, Head of School, Tampa Preparatory School, FL
You see them when they come on tour. You send personalized emails. You track their visits to your website and invite them to shadow current students. But do you know what really motivates a family to apply to your school? Given the myriad challenges facing enrollment leaders in today’s competitive market – many of which are beyond our control – it is critical that we make the admission process more accessible and family friendly. To aid enrollment leaders in this endeavor, The Enrollment Management Association surveyed thousands of parents immediately following the 2016-2017 application season. Come prepared to reflect on the survey results and consider the practical application this information can have to your work.
Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Match! Helping Parents Find Schools that Fit their Child's Profile
Megan Shotwell, Co-Director of High School Placement, Rodeph Sholom School, NY
Kate Greenfield, Associate Director of High School Placement, Rodeph Sholom School, NY
We often work with families who are focused on the brand name of a high school that they think will serve their child well. As placement professionals, we are armed with both quantitative and qualitative data that may or may not support a family’s view of a good match.
This workshop will explore some of the techniques utilized to develop a more unified placement plan for each child. Some of the data used to develop a child’s profile include results from standardized test scores, their past grades, observations about the child, learning style, contributions to the community, and advisor/teacher input. Our placement mission is to give families the tools to visualize their child’s profile and gain a clearer perspective of which schools will, in fact, best serve their child over the next four years.
Targeting the Middle Class
Steven Casey, Director of Financial Aid and Analytics, Pine Crest School, FL
Catherine Pollock, Co-Head of School, Cushing Academy, MA
Meredith Carlisle, Director of Financial Aid, Associate Director of Admission, Cushing Academy, MA
The middle class is shrinking nationally, and schools need to have a strategic plan to market to and budget for middle-class families. Socioeconomic diversity is key to healthy admission and enrollment.
Learn how to best identify, target, and package middle-class families through a collaborative partnership between financial aid and admission with the ultimate goal of building and sustaining a healthy enrollment and financial future. The presenters will share samples of specific effective strategies and a sample strategic plan applicable to both boarding and day schools.
(Un)Privileged: The Cost of Being Poor at an Elite Institution
Heidi Jamieson, Director of Financial Aid, Phillips Academy Andover, MA
LeRhonda Great, Dean of Diversity and Inclusion, Berkshire School, MA
In 2016, a Trinity College graduate produced a documentary called "(Un)Privileged: the Cost of Being Poor at an Elite Institution." The film chronicles the experiences of students who receive full financial aid and the challenges they face as they are invited to be a part of something grand, yet lack the financial resources and understanding of the elite mindset to fully engage.
Stories like this are not limited to higher education, and are perhaps even more prevalent in independent high schools, where the barbell effect with regard to socioeconomic backgrounds is more pronounced.
Presenters will address the basic measures taken at two different boarding schools to support students who receive financial aid, including subsidized books and fees, school-sponsored trips, travel to and from campus, tutorial support, music lessons, medical needs, and other incidental expenses. The bulk of the discussion will focus on engaging students and other key stakeholders, as well as the process of creating an affinity group in order to address socioeconomic barriers in each unique community.
Women and Admission: Transitions and New Challenges
Charlotte Brownlee, Assistant Head for External Affairs, Cate School, CA
Victoria Muradi, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, Durham Academy, NC
Frankie Brown, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, Sidwell Friends School, DC
Molly Dorais, Director of Admission and Financial Aid, Colorado Rocky Mountain School, CO
Each panelist will speak for 5 minutes about a recent professional transition and related challenges, including: a move from enrollment director to assistant head for external affairs, an admission directorship to educational consulting, an admission director with no kids to kids, an admission director in a new city/market, and an admission director maintaining her innovative spirit after ten years on the job. All of the panelists believe strongly in supporting women in our profession and hope to open a dialogue with attendees for the second half.
Thursday, September 14 - 10:45-11:45 am
Admission as a Classroom: Using Student Ambassadors to Further Your Office’s Work and Provide Real Learning Opportunities
Greg Osborne, Associate Director of Admissions, Pomfret School, CT
Admission offices in the fall are nothing but hectic! Beyond being on the road 50% of the time, you’re managing an interview schedule, tour guides, board of trustees reports, professional development, and much more. Forget trying to find opportunities for touch points with families already in the funnel or coming up with creative ways to capture more.
This is where your students come in! A foray into the academic curriculum by Pomfret’s admission office this fall proved very successful and became a perfect example of the school’s tagline, “Where Real Learning Happens” by offering its student ambassadors an opportunity to pioneer internship programs.
Within this course, students took on research projects that focused on marketing and recruitment, using Google Classroom as their “meeting space,” while also assisting in the day-to-day life of the admission office. In this session, we will discuss how and why we transformed our office into a classroom -- and how it provided our students the opportunity to delve into work that was both relevant and applicable while also earning academic credit.
Banding Together: Building Effective School Consortia
Molly Dunne, Director of Admission, Peddie School, NJ
Quentin McDowell, Assistant Head of School for Enrollment, Mercersburg Academy, PA
Louisa Zendt, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid, St. Andrew's School, DE
A collective effort to market our schools strikes at the heart of the North American Boarding School Initiative. Our consortium travels together, hosts joint receptions, and welcomes consultants and educational advisors to our campuses for group tours. We have formed tight collegial relationships as we talk weekly about market trends, unique circumstances, and sensitive situations. Building an effective school consortium not only broadens markets and saves money, but also provides a better service to prospective families and other stakeholders.
Bridging the Gaps Between the Admission, Retention, and Re-engagement of Students and Alumni of Color
Lauren Lewis, Assoc. Dir. of Admission and Multicultural Outreach, Tabor Academy, MA
Often, when in conversations with independent school admission officers, students of color are focused on their classroom and extracurricular experiences, without a clear sense of why outreach and advocacy from the diversity and inclusion office is necessary to finding a sense of place in other areas of the school community.
In addition, they are uninformed about how the work of the advancement office can help to provide further access to opportunities that go beyond tuition, room, and board. How can we use the triple-threat boarding school approach to the holistic education and support of students as a model for closely aligning the work of the offices of admission, diversity and inclusion, and institutional advancement to provide a greater measure of relationship and engagement with students and alumni of color?
Walk away from this workshop with additional tools for how to attract and retain students of color and re-engage alumni of color and use this model as a foundation for a universal approach to institutional relationships (boarding and/or day schools) with a variety of stakeholders.
Complex Financial Aid Issues: How to Handle Them?
Jackson Marvel, Director of Financial Aid, Hotchkiss School, CT
Have you, or your financial aid director, ever found yourself presented with a situation you did not know how to handle? This session is focused on discussing exactly these kinds of difficult cases and situations we find in processing financial aid requests.
Using real case studies and examples, participants will have the opportunity to discuss the various factors and ways to assess them in their committees’ methodology and process. Survey data from practitioners in the field will be included as part of the program. Attendees should come prepared to participate in the discussion.
Ending the Quest for Unicorns: The Power of Distributed Leadership
The education landscape is becoming more complex, particularly for independent schools that must remain laser focused on achieving strong student outcomes while running a business amidst a changing economy. With this complexity, a single strong leader at the top is not enough; schools must develop strong leadership teams if they are to be most effective.
In this session, we’ll talk about distributed leadership, the research behind its effectiveness, and why it is crucial to the success of independent schools today. We’ll also discuss how to build a culture that supports teaming and nurtures environments in which team members at all levels can share knowledge, dissect problems together, and work toward common goals. Finally, we’ll examine how to build capacity for leadership throughout the school.
Establishing Common Ground between Enrollment and Technology Leaders
Technology's role in schools is highly visible, both in terms of delivering the program (blended learning, BYOD, making) and running the school (databases, websites, online applications). Conversations about technology among campus leaders are sometimes more frustrating than fruitful.
For the promise of technology to be fulfilled, enrollment professionals and technology leaders must understand each other’s goals and establish common ground. We’ll lead participants through an examination of technology "must knows," review case studies, explore common pitfalls in communication, and delve into the complexities and misconceptions that surround some of today's innovation initiatives.
Full-Pay Domestic Enrollment: Keystone of Sustainable School Economics
Suzanne Buck, Rector, Chatham Hall, VA
Michael Gary, Head of School, Friends Select, PA
Full-pay domestic enrollment is a keystone to successful operating strategy and economic modelling for a unique, meaningful education program, robust student population, and philanthropic support.
Understand how full-pay domestic enrollment anchors market position, provides a comparative advantage, and delivers sustainable economics. Identify strategies to optimize market, educational, and financial dynamics for near and long-term performance. Explore operating and financial opportunities and the requirements of the target market.
The Interview: Am I Buying or Am I Selling?
The interview is often the first meaningful interaction between a school and a family. If not done properly, it can often be the last. When executed properly, the interview can serve as a valuable initial assessment of fit between the school and the family, be the beginning of the yield process, and help convert a family into lifelong members of your school's recruitment team.
In this interactive session, we will discuss the purpose of the interview, how to shift from buyer to seller during the interview, and how to make an effective assessment of the time spent with a candidate and his or her parent(s).
Using Numbers to Drive Your Enrolment Programs
Bruce Mutch, Director of Admissions, Ashbury College, ON
Using the example of the TCS Canadian Families Boarding Program (www.tcs.on.ca/canadianboarding), the presenters will look at how your data can lead you to successful enrolment programs.
What Makes You Different?
Omer Yahia Khalayleh, Admissions Officer & International Student Recruiter & SSAT Coordinator, King's Academy, Jordan
Robert Bahou, Principal Director, The Film Güys, Holland
Independent schools around the world have been using the same standard marketing techniques with little variation. The individuality of these schools often gets lost in the medium.
At King's, we worked alongside Robert Bahou (’11) of The Film Güys, a video production house specializing in schools, to develop wise and witty solutions to marketing our school that have resulted in double-digit gains in applications and a handsome bump in yield. We will be walking you through how we developed these solutions and the impact they have had internationally and locally.
Thursday, September 14 - 3:30-4:30 pm
The Business of Enrollment
The skill set for admission success is rapidly evolving. To maximize impact, enrollment managers need to learn the language of CFOs, heads, and trustees, and be able to express challenges and solutions in a vocabulary they understand.
Participants will learn about the critical financial issues connected with enrollment management, including modeling net tuition revenue, net tuition discounting, financial aid budgeting, and projecting multi-year tuition income.
From Diversity to Plurality
Dayna Hollins, Assistant Director of Admission, Westside Neighborhood School, CA
Mark Copestake, Assistant Dean of Admission, Pluralism & Multicultural Affairs, Lake Forest Academy, IL
Katelyn Forero, Associate Director of Admission, Viewpoint School, CA
We all tout having a “diverse” campus by listing student body demographics like gender, ethnicity, country of origin, international representation, state representation, financial aid awards, etc. This session will challenge you to reframe your thinking about diversity by adapting the term “pluralistic.”
You will learn how to use data to support diversity initiatives and the language that can be used to accurately describe how your programs and initiatives promote inclusivity on campus. Participants will walk away with tools to begin a diversity audit and a deeper understanding of diversity, inclusivity, and plurality.
From Intuition to Information: Using Big Data and Predictive Analytics to Support Enrollment Management
Andy Hannah, CEO, Othot, PA
“Hey! How are the numbers looking?” “Are you feeling good about next year?” “What are our numbers going to be?”
In enrollment management and admission offices, we are used to fielding these questions from our heads of school, board members, fellow administrators, faculty, and even prospective parents. But, are these questions really the right ones to ask of ourselves, our teams, and our schools?
Figuring out the right questions to ask about your enrollment process is essential to successfully meet our goals. Cost impacts enrollment, doesn’t it? What about demographics? Mission and values? Effective marketing? Why do the families who choose our schools make the decisions that they do? What factors are most influential? Are they the same factors that we think are the most important? Do our past outcomes predict our future? How can we tell?
By using big data, as well as your school’s data, you can uncover the right questions to ask and subsequently, the answers to your most essential questions: How likely are best-fit students to enroll in my school, and what can I do to predict and influence the outcomes of their decision making?
Hack Your Marketing Strategy to Maximize Return
According to an Infosys report on customer experience, nearly 75% of consumers are frustrated when online content is not related to their particular interests. Do you know what prospective families really want to see or learn more about?
Imagine positioning your school ahead of the curve and learning how to communicate with prospective applicant families by delivering content that speaks directly to their wants and needs. Avenues: The World School has done just that, achieving open and click-through rates above the industry average by studying exactly what their prospective families were interested in and delivering it, directly and personally, to their inboxes.
After running a simple query in any database, admission officers can begin to segment lists and send targeted communications to prospective students and families based on grade, interests, location etc. The options are endless! Schools can set themselves apart from the competition by sending families information they want to read, leaving them wanting -- and waiting for -- more.
The Importance of Context in Admission Decision Making
In recent years, cognitive biases and heuristics have become a vital area of study at the individual level, particularly for decision theorists and social psychologists. These biases have deep implications for those of us who admit students and provide scholarships. Learn about common biases in admissions and scholarship decisions, and some initial practices admissions officers can use to reduce decision-making bias.
The North American Boarding Initiative – An Overview and Progress Update
Caroline Eddings, Account Director, St. John & Partners, FL
Lisa Gearhart, Director, Customer & Content Strategy, St. John & Partners, FL
The North American Boarding Initiative (NABI) is a concerted, sector-wide response to the increasingly complex enrollment challenges faced by boarding schools in today’s education landscape. Join the TABS/NABI team and our agency of record, St. John & Partners, for an update of the work that’s underway and a preview of what’s to come for this aggressive, five-year initiative aimed at increasing the domestic, tuition-capable boarding enrollment at NABI schools by 10% by 2020.
This presentation will feature aspects of NABI's research-based, consumer-centric marketing campaign. We will highlight aspects of the student, parent, and key-influencer engagement strategies, as well as share outcomes from our spring marketing campaign launch, and offer next steps. (Exclusively for NABI schools)
One Year Later: Pathways to Leadership in Admission and Lessons Learned
Jamila Everett, Director of Admission and Financial Aid, The Webb School, CA
Nathalio Gray, Director of Admission, The Branson School, CA
David Lazo, Director of Admission and Financial Aid, The College Preparatory School, CA
A new admission director can feel like a professional running in a forest with a blindfold. Once familiar challenges now seem new and unfamiliar. Pressures intensify. Where does a new director turn for support? Come hear from four admission professionals as we talk about life after attending the inaugural Admission Director Institute (ADI). We’ll discuss our various pathways to leadership, the challenges and victories we’ve experienced, and lessons we’ve learned along the way.
The Process of Discernment: Unveiling Aptitude and Character
Francis Donald, Associate Director of Admissions, The Bishop's School, CA
At The Bishop’s School, the relational process with each candidate and his/her family begins when they tour campus, interface with more than one admission officer, and have multiple experiences, before culminating in a family interview.
The interview is carefully curated to assess the skills, abilities, and character of an applicant based on a mission-appropriate rubric. In this presentation, we will guide participants through the principles of design for a relational process relevant to your institution. As directors of first impressions, participants will be able to delve into the philosophy of their processes, giving them a broader and deeper knowledge base and elevating the value of their relationships.
The standards of the model are a guidepost for professionalism, assessment, and integrity of process. Admission teams will be in a position to discern the quality of applicant and the softer skills that align with institutional standards, resulting in a validation of decision making.
Secondary School Placement Counselor Resources: Where to Find Them and How to Use Them
Lauren Von Euw, Director of Membership, The Enrollment Management Association
Working with students and parents to find, apply, and enroll in their next schools is no easy task, even for the veteran placement counselor! Parents have high expectations, high anxiety, and little patience for the myriad processes needed to take these next steps. Join The Enrollment Management Association's Director of Membership and Director of Outreach to learn more about the tools available to you (and how to use them!) as you help students and parents navigate the admission process.
Word-of-Mouth Marketing: Unleashing the Power of Your Current Families
Anna DiStefano, Admission Coordinator, The Wheeler School, RI
Who doesn’t love a good recommendation? Whether it is for a new book, a recipe, or the best independent school in the neighborhood, it feels good to hear it from a trusted source! In this workshop we will share how The Wheeler School, a Nursery through 12th grade community, worked with current families to strategically unleash the power of word of mouth. We will discuss the student and parent ambassador program, the mentor program for new families, the parent-to-parent group, and how the over-all marketing of the school has shifted over the years.
Friday, September 15 - 1:30-2:30 pm
A Key to Success: Provide Optimal Customer Service
Stacy Wang, Admissions Manager, Beijing City International School, China
Discuss the process of selecting candidates based on our own admission policies. What are the key traits to look for in a student and what have you found to be important to you? We will also discuss key tips for creating a top-notch customer service experience for visiting families and accepted families and tracking your success.
Are You Zeroing in on Your Full-pay Families?
Most schools rely on the income of the full-pay family to sustain their missions. These are the families who can pay your full tuition and fees, plus give a donation to your annual fund. Are you zeroing in on them with your recruitment efforts? Why are these families slipping by your radar? How can you connect with more of them? During this workshop, we will talk about why they may be slipping past your radar, why a “marketing to full-pay” approach may be the solution to capture them, ethical considerations, and how to begin shaping your targeted initiative. There is no easy solution or a one-glove-fits-all approach, but there are some basic ways to tweak your approach to ensure better results.
Ask the Experts: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Assessments but Were Afraid to Ask
Dr. Jinghua Liu, Chief Testing & Research Officer, The Enrollment Management Association
Dr. Keith Wright, Director of Psychometrics, The Enrollment Management Association
Dr. Linda Cook, Former Vice President of Assessment and Director of the Center for Validity Research, Educational Testing Service (ETS)
Schools need reliable assessment tools to make confident decisions about applicants. That’s why The Enrollment Management Association works continuously to identify evolving best practices and develop new ways of equitably assessing student potential. The EMA testing & research team scientists spend an extraordinary amount of their time reviewing the Elementary, Middle, and Upper Level SSATs to ensure they remain the gold standard in admission testing.
In addition, each member of the team pursues his/her own continuing research into areas of interest and specialty in the psychometric community. Join the conversation to learn more about the team and their individual areas of research and expertise, and find out what research projects they are working on now. This panel discussion, led by a member of the outreach team, will allow participants a unique insider’s view of the work being done and an opportunity to ask those burning questions about student assessment and the SSAT.
Congratulations! You’ve Been Approved to Hire New Staff…Now What?
Harriet Klumper, Admissions Officer, Collingwood School, BC
We all know how rare it is to get approval for new staff in the admission office, so if you’re fortunate enough to be given the go-ahead to hire a new team member, you need to capitalize on this opportunity. Topics covered will include creating a compelling case for additional staff; crafting the new position description, best places to post the position, systematic vetting of applications, getting buy-in and engagement from your current staff, and the thoughtful onboarding of your new colleague to ensure a seamless and meaningful integration.
There will be time at the end of the session for Q&A and a brief sharing of best practices among this session’s attendees. Janis Clark will present along with her new hire and colleague, Harriet Klumper, who attended the 2017 Admission Training Institute (ATI).
Information for Strategic Enrollment Management: A User's Guide
Every definition of strategic enrollment management (SEM) describes it as a data-driven activity, a process dependent on the use of data to achieve desired goals. This session will offer SEM leaders an overview of ways of thinking about the use of information in SEM. It will explore how data support both administration and planning, how data need to be developed at every stage of the enrollment lifecycle, and varying ways information is actually used in organizations. Attendees will learn frameworks and constructs helpful in developing the information resources for SEM in their organizations.
Innovating for Accessibility and Sustainability: New Horizons for Independent Schools
John Kerney, Head of School, The Winchendon School, MA
Booth Kyle, Associate Head of School/Admissions and Financial Aid Director, Lakeside School, WA
Learn how established independent schools across the country are innovating by creating new models that experiment with space and technology to share resources and keep themselves accessible and sustainable for current and future students.
Participants will explore three case studies: The Winchendon School’s “model school” outpost in urban areas, Lakeside School’s “micro school” in Seattle, and the Malone Schools Online Network, a consortium of independent schools across the country sharing resources to expand their course catalogs. Participants will have the opportunity to consider how their own schools might embrace these kinds of innovations in ways appropriate to their needs and goals.
Leveraging Summer Programming to Increase Brand Awareness and Loyalty
Explore strategies to refocus your school's summer camps and courses to be brand energizers that will foster revenue growth for the school while deepening your brand identity.
Hear how The Blake School transformed their summer programming from a drain on the operating budget to an auxiliary revenue leader through strategic marketing, and reimagined offerings with attention to overall brand positioning of the school.
Making Financial Aid Offers to High Need Families
Jessica Gamboa Feliciano, Regional Program Manager, Southwest, A Better Chance, CA
Every school has a budget to allocate financial aid to as many admissible students as they can accommodate, but what is a high-need family considering in their decision to sign a contract with a school?
In this workshop, we will dissect the thought process families use in deciding to sign a contract. How do factors like academic programs, school culture, family contributions, and transportation factor into the equation? Family preference is dependent on whether or not they find value in investing in a private school education, especially as they consider the transition from a public to tuition-based school.
People of Color in Admission
Kemi T. Nonez, Director of Diversity & Multicultural Affairs, Assistant Director of Admissions, Durham Academy, NC
Yocelin Gonzalez, Director of Community Partnerships, The Meadowbrook School, MA
Kyle Mason, Director of Outreach & Recruitment, Cate School, CA
This workshop follows up on our People of Color survey and networking event. Join your colleagues to learn the results of the survey about people of color in admission and to discuss the ways in which we can work collaboratively to ensure we foster a sustained network to retain, attract, and recruit more amazing admission folks of color.
Using Backwards Planning to Design a New Admission Process
Woodside Priory had been flourishing as a school; however, our success exposed the limits of and problems with our admission process. How did we select the right kids from growing pools of qualified applicants? Did we have clear and consistent criteria to evaluate applicants? And did we even know what we were looking for in the first place?
What we needed was a wholesale overhaul of our admission process so that we could be more intentional about evaluating applicants, identifying successful ones, and making admission decisions. This session will examine the process we followed to make some very significant changes.
We’ll talk about the problems with our old evaluation system, how a faculty committee identified the qualities we were looking for in applicants, the rubric we created to assess those qualities in applicants, the changes we made to both our interview process and decision processes, and how the whole process changed the way we talk about the school with families.
Friday, September 15 2:45-3:45 pm
Assessing Character Skills
Character skills are increasingly becoming part of the conversation around student selection and success. This session will explore the innovations in assessment that are facilitating the measurement of non-cognitive skills. For two years, The Enrollment Management Association has worked with admission leaders in over 30 independent schools to develop the Character Skills Snapshot, which is rolling out in beta to the wider independent school admission community this fall. Learn about the Character Skills Snapshot and its potential to add valuable student data to the applicant file.
Brand It and They Will Come: Increasing Best-fit Inquiries with Integrated and Intentional Messaging
Angie Jackson, Marketing Solutions Director, Crane MetaMarketing Ltd., GA
On almost every campus, admission teams wrestle with some variation on this theme: “Parents fall in love with our school the minute they step on campus.” “On paper, we look expensive. But in person, families see our real value.” “Once you’re here, you just get it.” But how can schools ensure that best-fit families hear the messages that lead them to campus in the first place?
Demographic, geographic, and psychographic data make it increasingly possible to find and speak to families who share the values reflected on your campus. Once armed with these data, you must channel the right authentic, evocative, carefully crafted message directly to the right prospects at the right time across a wide range of media.
Discover how your school can create a more integrated and intentional messaging strategy to increase inquiries from well-matched families. Our discussion will include concrete, tactical suggestions on how to more clearly identify and more compellingly engage your best-fit families throughout all stages of the decision journey.
Career Pathways in the Profession
Jonathan Ball, Managing Associate/Advancement, Carney, Sandoe & Associates, MA
Career paths in independent schools provide many options for the aspiring educator or leader. This workshop is designed to explore the possibilities and opportunities that independent schools can provide for the admission professional at each career stage.
We will identify the goals, skills, experiences, and expertise that are valued when considering or designing a satisfying, meaningful career path, whether in admission or in other leadership or administrative roles in independent education.
Collegial Competitors: Working in a Consortium
Sarah Markhovsky, Director of Admission, Greenhill School, TX
Cindy Newsom, Director of Admission, The Episcopal School of Dallas, TX
Do you wonder what is going on in the admission offices at competitor schools in your area? Dallas is a competitive market saturated with independent schools. Collectively, we receive almost 5,000 applications, and make selective offers to only 2,200 applicants. How do we cooperatively shape the expectations of applicant families?
Over 15 years ago, a group of local admission directors came together to provide a forum to share common areas of concern and discuss issues that arise in dealing with the admission process and procedures at our schools. From this emerged the Independent School Admission Association of Dallas (ISAAD), a group of 16 schools that work as a consortium to further the spirit of cooperation among the schools and to assist in making the admission process as user-friendly as possible for our constituents.
We will discuss how schools run efficient admission offices, while guiding families through the admission process in a fair and caring manner – all while supporting each other through the ups and downs of the admission cycle. We will discuss many topics, including shared testing, a joint Private School Preview, common application dates and financial aid processes, guidelines for contact with families, and a new consortium website.
Growing Diversity from Within: Cultivating Relationships with Access Programs On or Near Your Campus
Michelle Brito, Assistant Director of Admission, Groton School, MA
Rob Dixon, Executive Director and Founder, Project RISE, Thayer Academy, MA
As independent schools are making strides to find students from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, often those students are right in their proverbial backyards. In this workshop, we will engage attendees in developing strategic relationships with access organizations that may be affiliated with their schools or that exist close to their respective schools.
The presenters, each with expertise in independent school admission and access organization work, are prepared to lead admission professionals in developing ways to effectively work with access organizations by refocusing admission and financial aid allocations and preparing, marketing, and training staff and faculty to recruit talented students who contribute to the diversity we strive for in all of our school communities.
It's a Possession Game: 7 Coaching Tips for Handling an Admission Director Transition without Losing Momentum
Beth Pride, Director of Communications, The Lexington School, KY
Time to change up your field positions? This is a story of space and angles, the move from defense to offense, and sideline coaching without ANY yelling at the refs. It is the story of veteran and new admission directors and how they orchestrated a succession transition that led to positive change and increased momentum in the admission and marketing departments and the school community as a whole.
Through the lens of “old” and “new,” this presentation gives specific “do’s” and “don’ts” for new admission directors and provides a general framework for smooth administrative transitions no matter what the position in your school.
Pitch Practice: Creating Starters and Closers across a School Community
While the title is baseball centered, the purpose of this presentation is to show how one school used Daniel's Pink's argument for the importance of pitch practice in his book To Sell is Human to train admission, advancement, and faculty to talk about their school.
Through a positive assessment of shared core beliefs, an open conversation about institutional vulnerabilities, and a willingness to share (and practice) responses to opportunities and challenges, we worked together to advocate for our school and prepare for a campaign.
That's Not My Job: Admission's Influence in Creating Inclusive School Communities
Eric Barber, Director of Enrollment Management, Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences, CA
Jamie Asaka, Director of Family Support, Lakeside School, WA
The role of admission directors used to focus exclusively on the admission of students with little regard to how they are engaged once they have matriculated to the community. The role of the admission/enrollment director has now expanded to include the marketing, admission, retention, and community development of the institution. As schools strive to move from simply being models of diversity to institutions that are equitable and inclusive, it is the responsibility of the admission/enrollment director to lead the charge as a vocal and creative partner within his/her institution, ensuring students and families are welcomed, engaged, and supported. This session will provide useful and innovative information and resources for working towards transforming your institution into an inclusive community.
The Art and Science of Financial Aid
Mercy Kealey, Director of Financial Aid, The McCallie School, TN
Ever wondered how to utilize SSS School Portal beyond using it for financial aid? Learn how one financial aid director transformed her admission and financial aid process by utilizing SSS reports and data. See how admission and financial aid data come together to make science.
This overview will help you will better understand and illustrate the three W's; -- the strategic outcomes of the where, what and why of an admission season.
The Trouble with Parents: How to Interview for Fit
Sarah Scandrett, Director of Admissions, Appleby College, ON
As educational organizations, we can certainly influence the development of a child, but the parents of that child are another matter altogether. How can you ensure that the families you accept understand and support your educational philosophy?
Using a mission- and data-centric approach, we will share our methodology with you. The conversation will cover approaches used by different schools to assess parent fit for entry, and participants will review interview questionnaires that have been designed for parents of students entering preschool and Kindergarten, as well as corresponding rubrics.
In addition, we will look at the data visualization and see how it influences decisions about admission. Should an assessment of parent fit be included in your assessments of a student's suitability for your school? Do you have a great approach to share? Join this collaborative conversation to examine and share best practice.