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Admissions and the Black Lives Matter Movement: We Are Stronger Together – Part I Anita Hilson,  Executive Director, Open Door Care The summer break for most schools nationwide has begun. But educators and administrators are not getting too comfortable – not breathing a sigh of relief just yet. In the time of COVID, which required schools everywhere to immediately shift gears into remote learning, teachers and administrators became instant best friends with Zoom and the terms “synchronous” and “asynchronous.” Now that summer is here, the normal time for rest and relaxation will be interrupted with significant work to perfect the remote learning program ...
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A typical June is filled with graduations, farewells, and the hustle and bustle of the last few things we need to complete before the school year turns the page. Sharing summer plans and goals are the central topics of end-of-the-year faculty meetings and luncheons. It’s also a time for ironing out details like host families and new student buddies for the next academic year. But June 2020 is not a typical June to say the least . As I reflect on the conversations I’ve had this month and what was said and asked, I also ponder what was really said and asked. There is a difference. And it brings me to some thoughts on defining our new rules of engagement. ...
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I came to my current role without much in the way of training. While I had been in education for well over a decade in a variety of capacities, six years ago, I made the transition from upper school dean of students to director of admissions and enrollment. It was not without trepidation. I was interested in the work but nervous about how to go about doing it properly. I accepted the job with one caveat – that I could attend the AISAP Annual Institute that summer. Conversations with colleagues had convinced me that the event was the strongest learning opportunity available to someone like me. And it was clear I needed to switch into organizational planning ...
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As enrollment and admission professionals, we play many roles, but lately I’ve been cast as fortune teller. I grab my veils, set the mood lighting and thunk my crystal ball on the table so everyone in the Zoom meeting can see it. Will we lose a lot of enrolled students if we don’t re-open our campus in September? How large does our COVID-19 emergency fund need to be to retain and enroll students? What will the impact of this pandemic be on the school for the next 3-5 years? While these are all worthy questions to consider, how can we demonstrate leadership and offer insights when the situation is novel ? Gather Evidence Just as our amazing schools educate ...
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Like any number of others involved with education, I’ve always taken comfort in the cyclical nature of the school year. There’s always been a certain rhythm and cadence that lends itself to the planning I need to accomplish to do my job well. And now, needless to say, that calendar has not only been turned upside down – it’s been thrown out the window. So how do I pivot mid-stream? As admission and enrollment professionals, you are going through a similar ordeal, and we acutely feel your pain.  By way of example, to host our Annual Institute, there are a tremendous number of moving parts that lend themselves to certain times of the year – and nearly all of ...
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In the midst of sending out admission decision letters, we find ourselves managing the angst and worry of our students, current parents, faculty and staff, trustees, other colleagues and newly admitted families. We have been joining hurriedly scheduled conference calls and webinars with medical and safety experts, peer schools, accrediting associations and legal counsel. We are gathering as much accurate and current data on Covid-19 and how to best keep our communities healthy and safe. We are meeting as an administrative team crafting informative while reassuring communications to our families and sharing detailed plans for possible school closure. Some schools ...
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Post Acceptance Blues In Toronto, many of the independent schools have common offer and acceptance dates. This year February 21st was offer day, and February 26 was acceptance day. I was happy to report to our Principal on the afternoon of the 26th that we are full! Offers went out at 7 am on the 21st, so too did the waitlist and decline messages. I find it interesting, eight years into my current role/school, that we put as much attention and effort into the last two groups as we do those we admit. The number of phone calls and emails I have had since February 21…I have done virtually nothing else in that time but respond to families wondering “Why did you ...
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At face value, Net Tuition Revenue (NTR) is the dollars generated for the school by the influx of tuition. For most schools, tuition revenue comprises the vast majority of the annual operating budget. When that operational need is not fully met, then schools need to make some tough decisions that impact the short and long-term sustainability of the institution. There may be some sense that adopting NTR is something that a school might do at the end of the year when the financial aid budget is exhausted. The trouble with that approach is that it does not work as a repeatable strategy since it is derived from sheer necessity rather than from a strategic position. ...
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A Non-Traditional Career Trajectory Tricia Xavier, Director of Admissions and Enrollment at The Gooden School If you were to tell me years ago, a new actor fresh out of art school with a coveted Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, that I would end up in independent schools and become an admissions professional, I would have laughed ... and then cried ... and then laughed again (because I was a trained actor, and I could)! My journey to the independent school world was anything but traditional. I slogged through years of production work, management, agencies, casting - anything within my (then) chosen field that I could get my hands-on to survive. I loved ...
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Communal Wisdom and our Community of Colleagues In the very crowded marketplace of independent school education, enrollment managers and admission professionals must engage with a community of learners to be successful. In my work, I find that I am called on to be an expert and prognosticator in domains ranging from the future of education to the facts and meaning behind shifting current and future demographics, price elasticity, volunteer management, competitive market analyses, issues of diversity and inclusion, sophisticated marketing and communications plans, and more often than not family therapy. As Yuval Noah Harari states in his book, 21 Lessons ...
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Bucket Filling: A Retention Strategy By Rebecca Malotke-Meslin Most of the conversation around retention is about how to prevent people from leaving. What if we talked about retention in a more positive way? What if we focused on communicating the value of an independent school education, and the value of creating connections? Rarely is it ONE event that causes a family to pack their bags. It is a long process that involves a lot of players and many interactions. Considering the opportunities to create connections and communicate value can help you shape an effective retention plan. Previously, we thought that if we all did our jobs—we were kind and ...
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Top Three Ways to Pull Off Wearing Life’s Many Hats  By Samantha Geisler  “I don’t know how you do it!”  “Are you… okay ?”  On any given day, I get these comments based on how well I appear to be managing my various roles in life: as a mother of a one-year-old with another one the way; wife, sister, daughter, aunt, friend, in-law, cousin, niece, neighbor; and AISAP board member. Not to mention that I’m Executive Director of Admission and Enrollment (yikes—even the title sounds overwhelming) at a 6-12 independent school that is currently in process of merging with two of its PreK-6 feeder schools. I’m not going to lie, it’s a lot.  Some days I appear ...
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You Are Not Alone By David McBride, Vice Principal of Enrollment Management, Upper Canada College I am very fortunate to work at a wonderful school in downtown Toronto. In our city, there is a healthy interest in independent schools and decent collaboration between our schools, so when I hear some of the stories from other regions of North America, as well as from admission professionals who are challenged to fill their schools, I count my blessings. Like many schools, my institution has not written a strategic enrollment management plan. Have we been strategic in my seven years here? I would like to think so. Have we made tough decisions or changed ...
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Admission Work Takes a Village — Engage Your School’s Faculty and Staff By Lisa Lau Aquino, Director of Admission for The Hamlin School The school year is in full swing and by now, you have undoubtedly initiated the process of introducing a new crop of prospective students and parents to your school. Although I’m neither new to admission nor to my school — this is my 17 th admission season and 33 rd year at Hamlin — every fall feels fresh and exciting. One of the truths about our vocations as admission professionals is that admission is the work of everyone at our schools. Each constituency in our school communities can and should be ambassadors ...
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Is Your Admission Office Bias-Aware? By Maryanna Phipps, Director of Admission and Enrollment Management,   The Hockaday School , AISAP Board of Director School has started and our Admission offices are in full swing. The start of the new admission cycle means we all have a lot on our to-do list and everything feels essential. I want to offer information that I feel is both necessary and important in our work—training around bias. Discussing and acknowledging bias in the admission process is challenging. We work hard to assemble a group of admission professionals who are skilled in their work and objective in their evaluation of students. Likewise, ...
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Calling all AISAP Members! Fifty-two weeks a year AISAP seeks to deliver on content that will help, inspire, uplift - oh wait a minute - AISAP seeks to deliver content that will EDUCATE, ELEVATE, and EMPOWER you! If you have something you wish to share contact me and we can look to having your blog placed in our AISAP 52 Community Portal
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You were perfect for the job when your school hired you, right? How about now? Are you keeping pace with the Admission and Enrollment profession? In my role at AISAP’s Leadership Center for Admission Professionals, I hear a lot.  Good, bad and everything in between. I hear— and see—so much change in the industry, yet I haven’t seen enough Admission Professionals keep pace with those changes. How have you added to your knowledge since you were hired? During the past several years, the role of admission managers as gatekeepers and judges of who gets in and who doesn’t has shifted dramatically to both enrollment management and , for many, to simply enrollment—ensuring ...
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(Reprinted with the permission of the Costco Connection)  Are you a work martyr? Employees who feel stressed out, overworked and all-around slaves to their jobs are among a growing trend of Americans who believe that their jobs can’t do without them—and they can’t do without their jobs—even for a few days. Chances are that when you were hired on, your employer offered paid vacation day as part of your package. But if you’re like many Americans—a reported 54 percent in 2016—you leave unused vacation days on the table. For the past 15 years, employees’ use of paid time off in the United States has taken a nosedive. According to a survey from market ...
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If there’s one way to satisfy your inner volunteer and develop your professional experience, it’s serving on a board of directors for a nonprofit organization—and it’s not as difficult as you might think. People helping people is a well-known mantra of nonprofit service organizations and there’s no better way to get involved than through board service. It’s a labor of love that can make an impact in your community, as well as a cause you care about. Board service can be both personally and professionally rewarding—it will help expand your perspective. Learning about how boards work and the ways they can shape the issues that are important to you is useful ...
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There’s a way to nix the notion that the admission and enrollment profession is an accidental career for those who fall into it. That way is through internships—a strategy that a few independent schools are trying on for size, proving that intern programs work well for the schools, the student interns—and the profession. Remember your college years? Juggling classes and assignments, learning new concepts and ideas while trying so hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel—better known as graduation. The end of college signals the beginning of adulthood and many graduates really have no idea about their next steps. For many, college is a requirement for ...
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