Drive Enrollment

Most of us would describe our institutions as “enrollment-driven”. Wouldn’t it be better to “drive enrollment”? When you are enrollment-driven, you are constantly in reactive mode, because enrollment is never a steady state; rather, enrollment ebbs and flows. A dip in enrollment can be extremely disruptive to planned operations—yet but  a bump can also create problems. When we move to driving enrollment, we become bold, we become relevant, and we become innovative. While some impending crises are predictable (think the “enrollment cliff”), others are unpredictable (think global pandemics, recession, changing student visa laws, etc.). When we plan for these, we can move forward with confidence and resilience.

How do we drive enrollment?

Healthy institutions are strategic, rather than reactive. A Strategic Enrollment Plan empowers all members of an academic community—faculty, staff, students, board members, alumni, and the local community—to be engaged in creating a realistic and intentional vision for future enrollment. Informed by quantitative and qualitative data, the Strategic Enrollment Plan provides answers to key questions, such as: Where might we see growth, and where might we acknowledge the reality of downturns? What would it mean to “right size” our institution? What new programming can draw on our distinctive strengths, be mission-aligned, while contributing to the overall portfolio of offerings?

What’s the difference between a Strategic Plan and a Strategic Enrollment Plan?

Too often, strategic plans state lofty goals for institutions without a clear road map to get there, and they implicitly assume modest enrollment growth year over year. A strategic plan becomes meaningless as soon as an unplanned drop in enrollment sends everyone scrambling—is it a blip or a trend? Do we change direction, or stay the course? As Mark is fond of saying, “Once you have the enrollment piece figured out, all else is possible.” For this reason, we believe that a Strategic Enrollment Plan should come first, before a Strategic Plan. A clear and comprehensive Strategic Enrollment Plan will make it possible for your institution to then dream big, be creative, and—most importantly—prepare you to realize all your broadest institutional ambitions.

How do we work?

We recognize that every institution is unique. “Cookie-cutter solutions” simply will not fit your institution. Campbell Schreiber offers customized plans to facilitate your institution’s development of a Strategic Enrollment Plan.

We begin with a quantitative and qualitative assessment of your institution’s enrollment trends, benchmarked to other comparable institutions. We then facilitate listening sessions and visioning workshops to articulate your institution’s unique value proposition. Elements of your custom Strategic Enrollment Plan would likely include:
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of your current CRM system in meeting your enrollment objectives.
  • A report assessing historical enrollment data and trends, including efficacy of financial aid strategies using key enrollment analytics.
  • Known future factors to consider, such as population trends, planned changes to admissions and financial aid regulations, economic trends, political trends, and international trends.
  • A final Strategic Enrollment Plan document developed with input from all community members and for the approval of the President and Board of Trustees.
  • Presentations to stakeholder groups on the Strategic Enrollment Plan.
  • Implementation timelines and action plans developed for each key goal identified by your campus.
  • Identifying what your institution’s top short term and long term priorities should be, based on the institution’s mission and the overall enrollment outlook.

We also offer financial aid strategy consultation; support for the recruitment, hiring, and development of your Enrollment Management team; and development workshops for faculty to understand their role in admissions and enrollment.

We work onsite or by video conference, according to a plan tailor-made for your needs.

What about the recent Supreme Court decision on race and admissions?

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision regarding the use of race in admissions, colleges and universities must be thoughtful in their approach to this topic. We believe that institutions can be simultaneously in compliance with the ruling while continuing to adhere to, and advance, their mission and values. In short, we believe that achieving both of these objectives is not only possible, but essential. Campbell Schreiber can assist your institution in navigating the new ruling.

Why Mark Campbell and Rachel Schreiber?

We possess over a half century of experience leading the academic missions and enrollment strategy of small to midsize institutions. Within these institutions, we have improved enrollment, retention, and graduation rates; responded to enrollment crises; launched new programs; refined existing programs; reassessed admissions criteria; and developed financial aid strategies to meet the needs of each institution. The range of colleges and universities where we’ve worked provides us with a special vantage point from which we understand what is unique about your institution, and what is needed to plan for the future. We are experienced in leadership development and mentorship, and can support your institutional teams (enrollment management, financial aid, faculty, and others) to work well together and to realize your goals.

Our enrollment philosophy

Our work is imbued with our social justice values. We believe that higher education should be accessible to all students. We also recognize the myriad barriers that pose challenges to that ambition including financial inequities, historical inequities, systemic racism, classism, ableism, and elitism. Contemporary college admissions practice has depended on a system of meritocracy, but merit is too often a proxy for privilege. We understand that an institution’s admissions strategies, practices, and policies are expressions of its underlying values, and we strongly advocate for equity to be core to these values.