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Direct Counselors Better

Direct Counselors Better

The job of an Admissions Director continues to expand, but we must keep sight of our core function: directing the counseling team on achieving enrollment success.

To perform this function at our best, we need the most precise possible picture of the applicant pool as a whole, an admission counselor’s territory, and each student’s likelihood of enrolling.

Even though our profession (and our individual job) has become increasingly data-reliant over the last twenty years, we’ve continued to rely on counselor assessment for the latter half of that picture.

 It’s time for us to take a giant step forward toward ever-increasing data reliance in decision-making.  I believe that statement strongly; it’s one of the reasons I was drawn to enroll ml – it’s the only solution I’ve seen that systematically answers that challenge. 

However it happens, individual admissions directors can step ahead of the pack by implementing positive change in this direction today. 

To direct counselors better, admissions directors need to review their available data sets to identify which pieces of information they need to do the following things better:

  • Press admissions counselors when they say they “feel good about….”  We can train counselors to be more data-centric by asking them to provide evidence and data to support their gut feeling.  How can they support feeling good if their FAFSA numbers are down but think they’ll increase yield significantly?
  • Sort through the difference between feeling and behavior.  It may be an individual student or the pool overall. Still, there should not be a significant lag or gap between student behaviors and the counselor feeling good about what’s coming next.  If there is a gap, either the counselor’s feeling or the data set is wrong. (It’s probably not the data set.)
  • Do not accept “my students are just moving slower this year.”  No, they aren’t; you’re just on track for lower enrollments.  You or the counselor (or both!) should have access to enough data to dig deeper.  If a reasonable claim can be made about FAFSA or visit numbers being slower, then surely we’d see email engagement rates on par with last year, website traffic unchanged, etc.  You’ll probably find that the mini-markers of enrollment are also down, and the sooner the counselor recognizes the trend, the sooner they can correct it.

These data elements take work to find or validate.  I’ve seen firsthand at enroll ml what goes into that process, and let me tell you; I could not have done it alone out of my CRM.  However, the perfect does not need to be the enemy of the good.  Directionally, you can progress with your team by rolling in even a few additional variables that can’t be easily explained by an admissions counselor’s feelings or internal preferences.

By dealing with the data disadvantage, you’ll direct your team better and improve yield.

Teege Mettille
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