One of the first questions posed to our cohort at the start of the Leadership in Enrollment Management Certificate was, “Is Enrollment Management a profession?” This question repeatedly resurfaced throughout the duration of the program and it continues to challenge me. While Enrollment Management will never reach the true sociological definition of a profession, programs like this are educating professionals in best practices that can help people in this role achieve success.
I learned many things during this program but what I have really taken away was the age old adage that “you are not an island.” As a very proud and independent worker, this is something that has always challenged me. I have a hard enough time admitting when I need help from my direct colleagues but collaborating with individuals outside of my office in my profession has always made me uneasy for one reason or another. Whether it is an underlying fear that someone is going to take credit for something that I did or think less of me because I need help, collaboration is something I’ve always had a hard time embracing. Admitting this seems silly to me now, though, because the biggest way I’ve grown in this program is through collaboration and sharing best practices and ideas.
When I had questions about setting tuition or financial aid budgets, I was able to gain understanding from my classmates and teachers through their comments and posts. When I was curious about ways in which to improve attrition rates, I was able to gain ideas to enrich LFA’s orientation and peer mentor program through what other schools are doing. Additionally, when I felt uncertain about my own skills as an enrollment manager, the support from my teachers provided affirmation that I can achieve success in this role. Finally, this program helped to realize that I do have the tools to be a leader and inspired me to keep learning and challenging myself. Taking the time to step back and reflect on what it means to be an enrollment manager has provided me with confidence in my ability to someday reach that position.
What I’ve realized from admitting that I can’t do it all myself, is that admitting that you need help does not expose weakness but it helps you become a stronger and more successful leader. Learning from people who have been in your shoes, who have invaluable experience, who can look at your situation from a big picture perspective because they’re not standing right next to it, this is what I need to develop in my role and profession. I have realized that doing things alone will inhibit me from being a strong leader and enrollment manager. I also learned I cannot be passive in my career. I cannot simply wait for opportunities to be offered to me, I need to seek them out. I am excited to continue on this enrollment management journey as the profession continues to develop. My hope is that I can one day offer the same kind of mentorship I received from my teachers throughout this program to new enrollment management professionals one day.
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