So often we hear the phrase, “April showers bring us May flowers.” For much of the country, there has been plenty of water shared this month and it is good for us on multiple fronts, but for colleges and universities, the lingering question right now is whether or not the anticipated enrollment numbers along with retention will meet the anticipated goals. And while there are many colleges and universities who will achieve their goals this May, most higher education institutions will spend the rest of the summer devoted to achieving their desired enrollment and retention goals, which have a direct financial impact on every institution.
A very accomplished person who held the top three posts in American higher education, Dr. Robert A. Scott, recently highlighted the importance of three “Rs” in his article published in AGB’s March-April issue of Trusteeship: “The New ‘R’ in Enrollment Management.” He notes that the two traditional “Rs” (recruitment and retention) must be joined by a third “R”—reengagement. As he noted in his article, “Nationally, there are 36 million people with some college credits but no degree. They represent a vast pool of prospective enrollees to make up for the high school deficit.” This is definitely another opportunity for colleges and universities to expand their reach and impact on many more individuals who recognize the importance of having a degree.
No matter what, all of this is a reminder to everyone about the importance of engaging current students and prospective students on multiple fronts and always during the various phases of the consideration and selection process. And while for some students attending college or considering enrolling there is emotional stress about multiple variables, so many are longing to be a part of an interactive community. And of course, reengaging with so many former students who still don’t have their degree will facilitate positive rejuvenation—for them and your institution—and help grow a valued, interactive campus community for everyone. And, help dispel the uncertainty that frequently permeates the campus community’s mindset.