How the role of enrollment manager is damaging school brands
by Trevor Waddington, Principal, TYW Education Group
In recent years, the job of admission director has transformed. Years ago, the position was held by a soon-to-be retiring teacher or an engaged former parent. All you needed was the ability to speak intelligently about the school while walking backwards and a penchant for processing applications. In the mid 2000’s, the cycle of private school popularity nationwide was on a down swing hitting an 18 year low in 2011-12. The downturn was exacerbated by the economic recession, which began 3 years earlier. The result was a seismic shift in admission offices and personnel. With little or no marketing and branding experience, the former teacher or parent was replaced by a savvy “youngster” with a marketing degree. It was the dawn of the enrollment manager – the person who was going to “right the ship” in no time with piles of data and an air of smugness. The attitude was tolerable as the enrollment manager predicted your future successes and failures (please hug, but don’t shoot the messenger).
Private school admin nation was so caught up in using analytics to make decisions, they forgot about the most important thing: the actual flesh and blood people they were trying to woo to their schools. They were also trying to be more collegiate by using the title enrollment manager as the position came out of higher education in the 1970’s when college enrollment dipped.
It’s important to have someone in a position to manage everything from the first inquiry email to graduation day. However, I don’t want the first email response I get from a school to be from the enrollment manager.
I’m not a number.
I’m not a process.
I do not want to be managed.
I want to be welcomed and served like I am a paying customer (just don’t call me a customer).