Effectively Communicating

Finding the right technology to connect to the right students. 

GUEST COLUMN | by Teege Mettille

CREDIT Northland CollegeAt Northland College, a small private liberal arts college along the south shore of Lake Superior in Ashland, Wisconsin, we have the unique mission of combining the liberal arts with a focus on issues of the environment and sustainability. Our 600 students come from communities throughout the United States and around the world. Because we are a small school with a unique mission and approach to higher education, we must do a good job of communicating who we are. At the same time we need to attract the students who are well matched to our college. To confront this challenge, we needed a partner with an honest approach that would work well to connect students with colleges that would be a good match; one that doesn’t just send us lists of names, but would work closely with us to get our message in front of the right student at the right time.

Many colleges are combining innovative education delivery models with equally innovative recruiting practices.

If they had the direct experience of working with colleges and they knew how to reach out to students we might otherwise have missed, that would be the partner we would want. That would be a tremendous advantage. In addition, if they helped us remain connected with our best potential leads throughout the recruiting process, that would also be desired. Their involvement with us would mean that our efforts are less resource-intensive and more personal for each student. The result would be an increased ability to meet our admissions goals.

The Ideal Partner

A partner that brings a team of experts with specific knowledge and expertise in each phase of the process would be an ideal partner. We would want professionals with in-depth knowledge of admissions processes and a wide range of skills relevant to our needs – everything from social media to on the ground knowledge of the state of Wisconsin and what it has to offer students. In these days of social media and mobile devices, one should be able to go to a team with questions about pretty much anything and get a good perspective on how best to proceed.

A partner offering a strong tool would be one focused on connecting students who are truly interested in what we have to offer. If every student who fills out a profile is doing so for the express purpose of providing our school with information about themselves, then there is great benefit to us in seeing what they are actually interested in, who they are, and why they are considering our school. It is a vastly better way of getting accurate information, instead of just looking on their Facebook account. In fact, we were lucky enough to have found exactly that kind of partner in Chegg Enrollment Services.

Changing Nature of Admissions

The 
emergence of “for
-profit” colleges has
 changed the nature of the admissions process. Many colleges are combining innovative education delivery models with equally innovative recruiting practices. Colleges in general have to be mindful of how they try to attract students in this highly competitive environment. Working with a trusted partner, I have the confidence that our recruiting practices will be ethical and effective, and will reflect accurately our focus on embracing innovative education delivery models.

A partner that can really nail the customer support and relationship end of things is a particular plus. Working with a team so diverse in interests and talents makes it easier to connect with admissions administrators and potential students. And it also helps if they are a pleasure to work, but these days, a partner always on the edge of innovation in what they do to ensure effective communication — is a vital requirement that cannot be ignored.

Teege Mettille is Executive Director of Admissions at Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin. Write to: tmettile@northland.edu

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