The Tedious Workshop
It was tedious.
I would spend *hours* preparing for it during the peak yield season and then have every admissions counselor spend two hours each going through it.
The final result: something I could have done by myself and just given to them.
Yet I did it – every year. I was taking precious time during the spring.
I’m talking, of course, about the Admit Pool Workshop. As I’ve been connecting with admissions leaders about yield processes, I’m learning that many of us do something along these lines, each in our own way.
Here was my approach:
Generate a report in the CRM with the significant markers for all admits (FAFSA, visit, admit)
Then, I add all the minor markers I have been watching (website activity, email engagement, high school visits, college fairs, etc.)
Next, I start adding in more random things. What was the last website they spent more than ten seconds on? How many emails have been opened more than three times, suggesting they forwarded it to someone else? What would their discount rate be if they accepted their aid offer? Everything I could think of that would fit conveniently in one cell.
Then, I’d print a half-page sheet for every applicant, preparing a stack for every admissions counselor of all of their admits.
Once we were together, we would work as a group to categorize and bucket all the stages a student could be at and commit to the correct outreach approach. The counselors would discuss, debate, and ultimately come to a consensus about what we would do next, and my job was to follow up and measure it.
It worked – there was a collective agreement on what was necessary – the best ideas were brought to the surface – and everyone’s game was elevated.
Most importantly, everyone left, having bought into the data we evaluated and leaned on.
That last part – achieving buy-in – made this tedious, time-consuming process necessary. They needed to touch the data themselves.
Indeed, I had enough experience to go through the data and categorize the students as needed. There are times when I would do just that. What I hadn’t solved during my career in college admissions was how to achieve this buy-in before the yield season hit a fever pitch. The opportunity cost of all that time was high – and I felt it.