Admissions

Ten Habits and Skills Sets for Admission Representative Success

  1. DESIGN (1)Genuine interest in helping others:  Will have at all times the best interest of the prospective student in mind. Acts as an advisor, successfully guiding the prospective student to the decision that will best benefit their lives. They present quality engagement and strong human relations skills. They are committed to the institution, the careers for which the school provides training, and to the students.
  2. Committed to continuous learning, planning, and mastery of organization, time and task management and to achieving their goals:  Every hour of every day is laid out beforehand. Every minute used to drive toward achieving the goals.
  3. Demonstrates leadership confidently on the telephone:  Tunes into every phone conversation keenly. Always has a favorable outcome resulting in appointments with prospective students who are deemed a reasonable fit.
  4. Questions effectively and listen actively:  The real professionals are those who can listen to the other person and identify that person’s needs, and then supply the correct solution to those needs. Knows that all the information that is needed to “secure an enrollment” comes directly from the person who is inquiring and considering enrolling.
  5. Delivers an approved strategic communication plan consistently:  As well as being great listeners, they are fluent in communicating readily all the facts, features, and benefits associated with the careers for which the institution provides training, the school and its programs and services. They limit this communication to that which is approved by the institution and relevant to the particular prospective student. Being an excellent communicator means they have the ability to tune in with the prospective student and communicate in such a way that the prospective student sees all the benefits of enrolling, starting and graduating without delay clearly.
  6. Provides timely follow-ups:  Follows up is timely. The top performer is relentless in making contact with all inquirers, new and mature, along with enrolled pre-start students. They schedule time in their daily calendar to make follow-up activities a priority for themselves. They keep in touch with old prospects on a quarterly basis because they know there are golden nuggets in those old leads. For the exceptional representative, follow-up is natural and comes easily. They love the challenge of reaching and helping people.
  7. Anticipates and solves problems:  The top performers know that, with every prospective student, there will be problems, concerns, and issues to resolve. There will be shared and unique issues. The top performer is always quick in thinking of the proper solution for every situation. The common problems will be on the tip of their tongue, and the solutions to unique issues will come swiftly to their mind.
  8. Motivates and Influences:  The accomplished representative will always have a natural ability to motivate those around them. They know that some prospective students will need guidance and support to make the right decision to get an education for themselves. The Master will always be on the lookout for those in need of a little “kick in the pants” to get them going. The Master spends time reading motivational books and is always seeking to help others around them.
  9. Masters of consultative selling:  True masters are always leading others by example. The top 20% of admissions professionals are always in the role of leading others. They are always happy to share their knowledge with a seeker.
  10. Sustain and project a positive attitude and professional image:  They are always attired in a neat, clean and professional manner. They walk upright with confidence. They demonstrate strong relationship building and human relations skills consistently. They always speak in a professional manner and never speak with profanity.

 

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Organizing Admissions: The Myths (Post 3 of 3 - The Comparison Game)

Copy of Copy of Copy of DESIGNSeveral years ago, and I mean in the 80s or early 90s, I read an article by Karl M. Mathews, at the time, president of Southwestern Business College in Palos Hills, Illinois.  I can not find a current reference to Mr. Mathews nor Southwestern Business College.  I copied the article but forgot to reference from what publication (sorry publisher), and in the course of rereading old articles for possible relevance today, I came across it again.

The statements in this article are as relevant today as they were several years ago in my opinion, so I thought I’d share them with you.  Would be great reading for those younger members of our profession who may never have had the opportunity to read what I consider foundation material.

This is the last of three posts.  The first myth is The Sacrosanct Lead, the second, Industry Standards, and this, the third, The Comparison Game.  I will certainly appreciate any comments.

Myth #3:  The Comparison Game

“Have you attended a seminar or training session in which the presenter has lost control to an ‘artful dodger,’ by inviting unrestricted audience participation?  I vividly remember one such participant who regaled the group with  his ability to fill all his classes each month and graduate between 98 and 99.5 percent of his starts.  If that wasn't enough, he had never had a no-show or a graduate fail to become employed.  In a matter of minutes, we were forced to change from  hip boots to waders when he went on to describe his [4% default rate].

Everyone - at least I hope everyone - in the audience knew this guy had spread enough fertilizer to cover the south forty.  When pressed for details he was diplomatically evasive and alluded to such meaningful explanations as ‘industry standards’ and ‘hiring the right people.’  His tirade did little to improve the topic at hand, but it did have an impact on the participants’ mood.  For some reason, intelligent, competent people, totally aware that one person was unloading a truck of fertilizer allowed such events to alter their behavior in the strangest ways.  Vanity?  Who knows.

Participants of this workshop represented a wide variety of schools from almost every corner of the nation.  The formal intent of this workshop was to focus on certain techniques to benefit all types of schools.  Our colleague’s little dissertation momentarily derailed the intentions of the workshop.  Not only did he disrupt and cut short and formal presentation, he profoundly affected the informal discussions later on.  Because of one person's action the mood shifted from discussion of the topic at hand to, ‘Well, if he is going to sell his success I’m going to sell mine.’

I have seen people become involved in the comparison game and genuinely become upset.  How can you compare schools in different parts of the nation?  How can you compare schools with different programs of varying lengths?  It’s simple:  you can’t, in most cases.  Schools vary in enrollment needs, geographical settings, length of student tenure and admission requirements.  Schools with short term (9 months or less) programs need to have a high close ratio.  Such programs are in a constant state of turnover and cannot afford a series of small beginning classes.  Schools operating in sparsely populated locales need to generate more leads to reach their desired enrollment.  Bringing in students from vast distances requires a monumental effort.  After all, enticing a student to relocate, at a considerable expense, is no easy task.  The larger the pool of leads the better your chances are of meeting expectations.  Schools with longer terms (over a year and one-half) develop optimum recruiting cycles and are under less pressure to constantly enroll.

By now, it should be apparent that comparisons of admissions numbers result in spurious finding and serve little or no meaningful purpose.

Comments are most welcome.  I hope you have enjoyed and benefitted from these posts as much as I have rereading and writing them.

If you wish to subscribe to Lee Gamelin’s blog posts and get them directly by email, go to www.GamelinAssociates.com and complete the sign-up form.


Organizing Admissions: The Myths (Post 2 of 3 - Industry Standards)

Copy of Copy of DESIGN (1)Organizing Admissions:  The Myths (Post Two of Three - Industry Standards)

Several years ago, and I mean in the 80s or early 90s, I read an article by Karl M. Mathews, at the time, president of Southwestern Business College in Palos Hills, Illinois.  I can not find a current reference to Mr. Mathews nor Southwestern Business College.  I copied the article but forgot to reference from what publication (sorry publisher), and in the course of rereading old articles for possible relevance today, I came across it again.

The statements in this article are as relevant today as they were several years ago in my opinion, so I thought I’d share them with you.  Would be great reading for those younger members of our profession who may never have had the opportunity to read what I consider foundation material.

There will be three posts; this is the second in the series; tomorrow will be the third.  The first myth is The Sacrosanct Lead, the second, Industry Standards, and the third, The Comparison Game.  I will certainly appreciate any comments.

Myth #2:  Industry Standards

“People who allude to “industry standards” also tend to use other vapid statements, such as:  ‘the bottom Line’ and ‘the big picture.’  As is the case of most trendy phrases, the phrase identifies something, but in reality, says nothing.

There are no industry standards.  No twisted little malevolent creature inhabits a mountain top churning out canons of performance expectations.

There are no quality control squads roaming the countryside preparing to descend upon you.  In short, the phrase ‘industry standards’ is about as meaningful as a politician promising never to lie to you.

Each school, or group of schools, should set their standards based on location, curriculum budget and a multitude of other factors.  No central force could, or should, dictate norms that take into account regional and local factor.  The only factor that is relevant is the conditions that surround each school’s locale.

An outsider may be able to assist you in the mechanics of success, but meeting successful expectations is an individual matter.”

Comments are most welcome.

If you wish to subscribe to Lee Gamelin’s blog posts and get them directly by email, go to www.GamelinAssociates.com and complete the sign-up form.


Organizing Admissions: The Myths (Post 1 of 3)

Copy of DESIGN (5)Several years ago, and I mean in the 80s or early 90s, I read an article by Karl M. Mathews, at the time, president at Southwestern Business College in Palos Hills, Illinois.  I can not find a current reference to Mr. Mathews nor to Southwestern Business College.  I copied the article but forgot to reference from what publication (sorry publisher), and in the course of rereading old articles for possible relevance today, I came across it again.

The statements in this article are as relevant today as they were several years ago in my opinion, so I thought I’d share them with you.  Would be great reading for those younger members of our profession who may never have had the opportunity to read what I consider foundation material.

There will be three posts, today, tomorrow and Thursday.  The first myth is The Sacrosanct Lead, the second, Industry Standards, and the third, The Comparison Game.  I will certainly appreciate any comments.  So here goes!

Myth #1:  The Sacrosanct Lead

"Let me preface this by saying that in no way do I wish to state or imply leads are not important.  Leads are important.  Without leads, one cannot enroll students.  But leads are not as important as the actions taken with them.  Also, it should be noted when discussing leads I mean media and list-generated leads.  High school and direct referral leads are more stable in nature and require different treatment.

Leads are a transient statistic.  (In the jargon of the statistician, leads are considered independent variables).  It is difficult, if not impossible, to accurately project the number of leads one can gather at any given time.  Independent variables can be influenced by events sometimes beyond our control.  Sometimes, it matters little if more advertising/marketing dollars are spent.  The best thing one can hope for is to find a pattern, or better yet, several patterns, of reliability.

In most cases [disruptions in the lead-gathering cycle] the causes are subtle and require time to determine the cause.  Unfortunately, the time needed to analyze the causes rob you from capitalizing on the lead’s initial interest.  It now becomes more difficult to work that lead.  Making, or remaking, a first impression, a second or third time is often not successful.

Since leads are independent variables, such numbers are an unreliable base for calculating admissions performance.  Yet, the focal point of most systems and discussions revolves around lead-close ratios.  [...]  Unfortunately, lead tracking usually evolves into an admission performance evaluation system based on the number of leads gathered.  In statistical reality, leads and enrollment have no significant correlation.

Common sense tells us that without the leads enrollments will not occur; but fact tells us that even with leads there are no assurances of enrollment, no is there any predictability as to the number of enrollments.  Leads by themselves only tell us how effective our advertising was.

I realize this commentary - some may call it an attack- on leads, is bordering on heresy.  Just a most of the ancients believed the Earth was the center of all that existed until a few “heretics” eventually proved them wrong, a prevailing tenet of this industry has been that the lead is the center of our admission system and all else revolves around it.  Leads are not the center of our system.  Leads are necessary vehicles to assist us in reaching our goals.  Leads are in independent orbits and are influenced, and influence, the real center of the system, each individual school.”

Comments are most welcome.

If you wish to subscribe to Lee Gamelin’s blog posts and get them directly by email, go to www.GamelinAssociates.com and complete the sign-up form.


Enrollment Management - The 1% Solution

Enrollment Management - The 1% Solution

Private, postsecondary career schools are supported primarily by tuition revenue.  The enrollment and training process works like a funnel from inquiries to employment.  A school’s future depends on effective management of the school’s operating system, in particular, the enrollment process.  Monitoring the conversion rates from inquiry to enrollment is essential.

There are no standard conversion rates.  It will vary from school to school.  However, a classic ideal is 70-70-40; 70% appointment to lead, 70% interview to appointment, and 40% enrollment to interview.  Translated into numbers from 100 leads would result in 70 appointments set, 49 interviews conducted and 19 enrollments.  (This is for net leads, meaning those who are qualified with a specific interest in the programs offered.)

Regardless of what are a specific school's conversion rates, improving the conversion rate can have a dramatic impact on enrollments.

A simple example:

  • Tuition at $15,000
  • 1000 leads annually at a conversion rate of 5% = 50 students
  • Increase the enrollment to lead rate by just 1% to 6% = 60 students
  • This increase of 10 students = $150,000 in additional revenue at NO ADDITIONAL COSTS.

Effective data management and enrollment practices oversight are essential to the success of any private postsecondary career school.

This means oversight of all conversion rates.

  • Appointments to Leads
  • Interviews to Appointments
  • Applications to Interviews
  • Enrollments to Applications
  • Sits to Enrollments
  • Graduation to Sits
  • Employment to Graduation

Why is this so essential?

According to Gino Wickman in his book, Traction:  Get a Grip on Your Business, “What gets measured gets done.  Complete mastery of your Data Component is achieved when you boil the organization's number down to the point where everyone has a single meaningful, manageable number to guide them in their work.  This number will enable leaders to create clarity and accountability throughout their team.”

“There are eight distinct advantages to everyone having a number.

  1. Numbers cut through murky subjective communication between manager and direct reports.
  2. Numbers create accountability.
  3. Accountable people appreciate numbers.
  4. Numbers create clarity and commitment.
  5. Numbers create competition.
  6. Numbers produce results.
  7. Numbers create teamwork.
  8. You solve problems faster.”

So, when are you starting to count your numbers and create that 1% solution?


Getting more enrollments

Want more enrollments...solve student problems. Untitled design (2)

There are 5 major problems students encounter when trying to make an enrollment decision.  These are usually legitimate problems that prevent an enrollment and not just half-baked excuses to postpone a decision.

  1. Childcare
  2. Transportation issues
  3. Lack of money for self-support
  4. Scheduling conflict especially with work needed for self-support
  5. Lack of support from significant family members.

Solve some or all of these problems, and you'll have more enrollments.  Number 5 is probably something you'll never solve, but if you think creatively, you may be able to solve one or more of the other four.