On a recent campus visit, I was party to a lively discussion with administrators about the institution’s value proposition. The usual exemplars came up – we have small classes, our faculty give students close personal attention, and other good – if not distinctive – reasons for choosing a college. We eventually got around to other characteristics prospective students and their parents find more compelling in a difficult economy: alumni help students develop career interests and make contacts in the working world, students get internships in fields related to their interests, graduates get good jobs and go to great graduate schools. But looking at the institution’s website, there was no information on any of these activities on the admissions pages.
The reason: “We can’t get the data.”
Career services, alumni, and internship offices are in the best position to collect institution-wide information on what students are doing after they graduate. But they don’t often enough see themselves as playing a part in marketing the institution. Academic departments, too, have to see themselves as crucial elements of the value proposition. These are the people, whether through regular student surveys or constant contact with graduates, who frequently have the best data on post-graduate outcomes.
A staff member in admissions or marketing should regularly harvest information on outcomes and post prominently on the admissions website. These can include:
- Licensure rates for nurses, teachers, CPAs
- Graduation rate history
- Alumni and senior survey results
- Links to campus websites showing internship placements and publications of student research
- Post-graduate job placements for each major complete with job titles, company names, and starting salary ranges
- Undergraduate department rankings from the National Opinion Research Center Annual Survey of Earned Doctorates
What can a prospective student or parent learn about your value proposition from your admissions website?
Image © iStockphoto.
About the author: Enrollment Management Consultant Bill Berg comes to S&K from Furman University, where he most recently served as Vice President for Enrollment. His leadership in enrollment management included overseeing offices of admissions, financial aid, planning and institutional research, and student employment. During this period, Bill successfully implemented a strategic plan designed to increase enrollment, increase selectivity, and decrease financial aid expenditures. Prior to his role as Vice President for Enrollment, Bill served as the Director of Planning and Institutional Research. In that position he supported student recruitment and retention efforts with financial aid optimization studies, enrollment projections, and admissions and retention studies.
Before Furman University, Bill served in leadership positions at Rhodes College and DePauw University. He has been active in professional organizations such as the Higher Education Data Sharing (HEDS) consortium, College Board, Commission of Colleges – Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the National Association for College Admission Counseling.