I’m sure this sounds familiar … late each spring, your school’s proud graduates have picked up their diplomas and headed out to parties, summer jobs, and the interminable wait for college to begin. Your faculty members have filed their final grades, said farewell to colleagues, cleaned off their desks, attended the last faculty meeting and headed off to various summer pursuits. Chairs are up on desks as the maintenance crew gets ready for a major cleanup of your campus.
Meanwhile, in the admission office, it’s business as usual. Yes, the summer may find you in casual clothes, with less intense work days. But given the reality of the admission cycle at most schools, you are still working on your enrollment challenges, still interviewing families, and still touring with prospective students as you work to create a full school.
Even though you are still doing the day-to-day enrollment management work in summer, it is also a time to take stock, to review the year that has just ended, and to look ahead to the next two or three years in developing an even stronger program for your school. No matter how busy you are, I urge you to find time for contemplation during the summer months, to review the exceptional students that you have admitted, and to enjoy the successes of this particular year of activity. At the same time, take stock of the challenges - and the disappointments as well. Why did some of your favorite applicants select another school? What important trends are you picking up from your exit survey? Are full-pay families a smaller and smaller market segment for your institution, and, if so, what strategies will you put in place to turn those tides in your favor?
At SSATB, we are planning to spend this summer taking stock of our last year. We are rightfully proud of the accomplishments of the past year in rebuilding many critical services for our member schools. But we’re also looking ahead to determine how best to implement the ambitious future plans we have for our organization. We’re in dialogue with our board and with you, our members, about how we can better help you in your work, and how we can better serve families on the road to independent education.
As you take stock of this last year, use the summer to plan also for your own professional development. You can download webinars from SSATB’s website for one-hour training sessions right in your own office.
We also hope to see you at September’s Annual Meeting in Chicago! Among other things, we’ll be talking about the future of assessment and contemplating the lessons we can learn from college and university enrollment management professionals. Don’t wait to register – beginning May 29 – as those seats will go quickly. This year’s program is designed to help you think anew about the work of enrollment management in the 21st century and about your role as a professional leader in your institution. And, for any new member of your school’s admission team, don’t forget about the two-day Admission Training Institute, which runs just prior to the Annual Meeting.
Speaking of professionalism, watch for The Career of Admission, coming to you in the next few weeks. Also, we hope that you will participate in SSATB’s first- ever comprehensive STATE OF INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ADMISSION survey (watch your inbox). We’ll be asking questions about enrollment, staffing, salaries and budgets – so don’t miss this opportunity to contribute to an industry wide report which should be useful in your leadership and management meetings next fall, as well as the board room!
Here’s one last summer exercise for you: When the photos from your school’s graduation are posted, take the time to look at each of those faces and remember the role that you played in bringing those nervous new students to your school. Take satisfaction in introducing each of them to the transformative experience they’ve had in your care. One of the great gifts of our profession is the impact we make in the lives of children and families. As Nelson Mandela reminds us, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Take pride in your role in sending educated young people out in the world to do great things!
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