For several years, I’ve been using an analogy to describe the role of an effective enrollment manager. Rather than only being “boots on the ground”, the enrollment manager can be thought of as a conductor.
In my work with enrollment managers, I often hear about the frustrations associated with being part of middle management. The truth is that middle managers across many professional fields face similar struggles: a tremendous amount of responsibility without a lot of control. You are responsible for enrollment, and you carry essential knowledge about both internal and external communities. You may be the only person with one eye on each. But you aren’t the decision maker regarding staffing, programmatic priorities, or scheduling. You certainly don’t want to be in the middle of what can become a complicated landscape of personalities and priorities.
While this conundrum is not unique, the circumstances are specific to your school. However, there is one thing that all schools can do in order to support the difficult position of being in the middle: procure great data.
The combination of both quantitative and qualitative data is powerful and clarifying. Armed with real numbers coupled with qualitative information, you have a much stronger leg to stand on when discussing feedback and recommendations with your leadership team.
You still may not be the decision maker, but when you walk into the room prepared with a well constructed portfolio of data, your chances are much better that you can influence the direction and strategy your school chooses in support of enrollment goals.
To start, consider running a demographic trend projection report for your service area to learn, in broad strokes, what the market conditions may be in the coming years. Couple this with qualitative information and you will be in a much stronger position to make your case for the strategy you want to put in place.