In the summer of 2003, an idea sparked the interest of a group of experienced admission directors. With the recent restructuring of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the group felt there was increasing interest in a national body that would attend to the professional concerns of independent and private school admission and enrollment management officers. The more this group of colleagues discussed it, the more firmly they believed that there was great need and widespread support for such an organization.
The First Steps
The group held a preliminary organizational meeting on January 28, 2004, at NAIS in Washington, D.C., to focus on the necessary first steps in building the association. The attendees represented a diverse group of boarding and day schools. Using other organizations such as the National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC) as a model, the group brainstormed about possible names for the association, development of a mission statement, as well as a fee structure for membership that would stress inclusion. As a follow up to this meeting, surveys were issued to independent school admission professionals across the country to gauge interest. From the responses, approximately 20 schools expressed interest in becoming founding members of the association—a level of support that assured the feasibility of this endeavor.
A second organizational meeting was held on May 6, 2004, and was attended by representatives from more than 23 schools located in 14 states. The group came to consensus about the mission and goals of the organization and set into place the early stages of the governance and committee structure needed to move the effort forward.
The organization officially incorporated in January of 2005 with 65 founding members. Membership information was sent out to schools across the country in the summer of 2005 and AISAP has since become the fastest growing independent school association for admission, marketing, and financial aid professionals, representing schools in almost every state and several foreign countries.
Markers of Success
The Board of Directors of AISAP approved and endorsed the document entitled Ethical Behaviors and Best Practices for Admission and Enrollment Management Professionals. This document serves as a teaching, guiding, and principle setting roadmap for the profession and for those whose work intersects and supports the efforts of admission at each institution.
The Board endorsed work that created a context for the teaching and learning programs for the profession. The Standards and Competencies for Admission and Enrollment Management Professionals contextualizes our programs and services and is a stakeholder for our mission and vision as we continue to expand both in reach, influence and program offerings.
AISAP is the leading educational association for admission professionals. As the industry has matured and consumers have become more sophisticated, a consistent theme has emerged: the need for continued education of admission professionals and the elevation of the profession. A core principle of AISAP is to educate, elevate, and empower our constituent base. We do this in a variety of ways, the most recent of which was endorsed by the Board in September 2017. The creation of the Learning and Development Framework identifies thirteen professional competencies using the Korn Ferry Leadership Model of Competencies (competencies are the skills and behaviors team members need to succeed in the workplace. They are observable and relatively simple to recognize) and refines the six key pillars of professional behaviors that complement and deepen our earlier work of the Standards & Competencies.