In the past several years, SJG has completed many searches for Enrollment Management professionals, and we expect that this trend will continue. Potential candidates often ask us what clients are specifically seeking in enrollment management candidates, so below are some skill sets you may wish to gather and/or areas with which you may wish to partner as you take steps to position yourself as a candidate in the professional realm of enrollment management:
- Data gathering, reporting, trend analysis and predictive modeling – If you are not already highly proficient with your institution’s database and its reporting programs, you will want to partner with your IT and IR staff members or others who can teach you data gathering and reporting skills; proficiency with Excel is the way of life for the modern enrollment manager! You don’t have to be a CPA to be an excellent enrollment manager, but you will need to understand basic budgeting principles and reporting programs in order to create a recruiting plan and to effectively track yields for events and enrollment.
- Enrollment marketing and recruitment – Increasingly, knowledge of targeted marketing and social media outreach methodologies are defining the ways in which institutions communicate with prospective students. Talk with your marketing gurus, or spend some time with your marketing staff, or better yet, meet with students to become knowledgeable about current communication vehicles which are appealing to the types of prospective students your institution wishes to attract and enroll. Remember, 10 seconds is the amount of time a prospective student may be looking at your paper collateral!
- Basics about financial aid programs – If you are not already knowledgeable about the basic types of and application procedures for financial aid, now is the time to befriend a member of your financial aid team and request a primer. Most enrollment managers oversee the financial aid department, so you will need to be knowledgeable on a macro level on federal, state and institutional regulations and reporting requirements. Understanding financial aid leveraging policies and procedures is fast becoming a top priority of enrollment managers. Perhaps most important, you will need to know the difference between discount rate and net tuition revenue, and the impact they can have on a tuition-driven institution. These two financial areas are of utmost importance at colleges these days, so schedule time to meet with your financial officer to familiarize yourself with these common institutional budget terms.
- Career services/development – Increasingly, career services/development offices are reporting to the chief enrollment officer, as outcomes and job prospects for students are foremost on their minds as well as on their parents’ minds. You will be expected to speak intelligently about the services, training, and workshops your institution offers to prepare students for the real world. If you haven’t been keeping up to date on these offerings, you will want to sit in on workshops offered to students by your colleagues in the Career Center or Career Development Office. You will also want to partner with them on offerings such as financial literacy and loan program repayment options for particular careers.
- Retention collaboration – While generally a collaborative effort of many institutional departments, retention efforts begin with recruiting the right students to the institution. Collaboration with faculty and academic support program members is critical for enrollment managers and their staff members to ensure that students who enroll will be successful at their academic as well as non-academic endeavors. It is far less expensive to retain a student than to replace a student who is not the right fit for the institution, so collaboration and communication among academic and non-academic offices is paramount to success for all. Reach out to the faculty members and get to know them as well as the programs they offer.