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Enrollment Marketing for Higher Education

The 2018 Making of a Super Recruiter Conference concluded in Philadelphia on Friday, July 13. Sponsored by Paskill Stapleton & Lord, the second annual event brought 45 admissions recruiters, hailing from 18 different colleges and universities, eager to add “super” to their titles.

The two-day, hands-on training covered a range of topics: managing work/life balance; prospect and territory strategies; leveraging academic sales; and project management styled for higher ed. Not only did the attendees, who represented 15 different states, from Pennsylvania to California, get the breakdown on how to turn student workers into secret weapons, they also got a lay of the land on media trends in higher education and learned how recruiting can be a lot like dating – both require timing, being yourself, and having a plan.

Sessions were led by higher education enrollment marketing experts Dave Black, Dana Evans, and Jeanne Gosselin. PS&L President Jim Paskill, who also presented findings on marketing best practices, noted to attendees the important role they play in the college decision-making process. “This conference is so critical, because you’re so critical,” he said. “Where a student enrolls in college is one of the most important decisions a family can make.”

Guest speakers included Christian DiGregorio, director of graduate admissions at Hood College, and Dr. Joanne Landers, vice president of enrollment services at Tennessee Wesleyan University, who delivered the keynote address.

Landers inspired attendees with her own journey in the field that began with her as a recruiter and 17 years later she now oversees not only her own department but all university marketing. She recommended recruiters seek out mentors. “Find a mentor or a ‘wo-mentor’ as my mentor calls herself,” she said. “Find someone in the field, someone who knows what you are trying to get at, even if you can’t articulate it well.”

Evans, a senior consultant at PS&L, echoed the power of people in the session, “Nurturing Networks for Enrollment Success.” “That’s what I love about higher education, the people,” she noted. “The people in our industry care about what we’re doing and are willing to help.”

The conference concluded with positive feedback from several attendees. According to Olivia Johnson, who recruits for Albion College, the intimate conference setting encouraged peer collaboration. “I thought this was going to be a much larger conference so I am very satisfied it was small and interactive,” she said. “The size made it welcoming and comfortable. As a new counselor, all of the information was helpful and relevant.”

Allison Tangen of the University of Providence agreed on the intimate audience of peers and experts lent itself to quality learning: “Having a safe place to ask questions is rarely provided and it was meaningful.”

The new class of Super Recruiters returns to campus motivated to implement what they’ve learned. “I feel as though the topics covered will help me better myself in my role and will help me to grow,” said Mary Davis of Thomas Jefferson University. “I’m excited to use the new knowledge, especially while taking on our student ambassador program.”

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