Market-Smart Thinking for Moments of Trepidation

No question, this time of year fosters lots of reflection. Reflecting on the past, thinking about the future. Often wondering, what will the New Year bring to each of us personally and professionally. For better or worse, the business of higher education is creating lots of consternation and uncertainty for everyone on college and university campuses and particularly enrollment professionals, who have historically often felt they live and work on campus islands because of the lack of empathetic understanding they feel and experience.

Despite all of this, many leaders have demonstrated psychological resilience—all the while offering up different metaphorical descriptions of their new professional career in college admissions and student recruitment. One veteran vice president shared with us that he was sitting on an “enrollment cliff” and was exasperated about possibly taking the wrong step forward, especially since his campus community wasn’t giving enough thought and consideration about the necessary right steps. Another senior leader said she was definitely floating down “the river” at a rapid pace, but looking ahead she knew she and her colleagues would be coming to a “waterfall”—a drop was coming soon, but there was lots of curiosity about how big the fall will be and whether there other “safer” choices going down the river to help alleviate the concern about going over the falls and possibly plunging to deeper depths of frustration.

The times are changing, and as we have noted during the course of this past year, the preoccupation with an excess of just discussion and discernment, which is often skewed by the “prestigious assessment” of thinking in the past and longing for the days of yesteryear, has blinded people’s vision about the necessity to do and to think differently. Fortunately, more campus communities and leaders now know that proactively gathering market intelligence to offer intelligent solutions is a necessity—not a fantasy farce. Transitions can happen when done in a calculated manner. And, they will activate positive energy and a renewed sense of self about the meaningful impact that comes with doing things in a more market-smart manner.


Stable Outlook

Moody’s 2020 outlook for the higher education sector moved to stable, a rise after two years of negative outlook. (via Education Dive)

Student Loans for the Wealthy

American Enterprise Institute found student loan borrowing rates and amounts increased most among wealthy families. (via Inside Higher Ed)

Fewer College Students

College enrollment has fallen about 11% nationwide over the past 8 years, and NPR examines why that matters. (NPR)


Lawlor Recommends

No matter where you work or what role you have, we wish you the best in 2020. Robert Frost wrote, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” There are definitely days when enrollment professionals and higher education leaders have moments of trepidation and serious angst about the professional road they so often travel. During this holiday season, stop and smell the roses and remember, you are making a difference and impacting so many people on the campus and outside the campus. Thank you!