Is your marketing sending the right signals to students?

In the latest issue of SEMQ, author Gabriel Serna explores the intersections of marketing, signaling, and student identity. In his article "Insiders/Outsiders? Market Signaling and Student Identity in College Choice," Serna, assistant professor of higher education in Virginia Tech’s School of Education, provides questions to help practitioners determine if these elements are ingrained in their work.

“The primary goal of this article is to help SEM practitioners carefully consider both explicit and implicit assumptions that accompany the marketing function and its relationship to college choice based on an understanding of students’ identities,” he wrote.

“Dr. Serna takes a new view of marketing by considering the signals that we send to students and how they pick them up (or fail to),” said SEMQ Editor-in-Chief Tom Green. “Through this lens, Dr. Serna examines whether higher education marketing considers these signals, student identity, and how different students may interpret these as messages of who ‘fits’ at our institutions.”

“Arguably, the goal,” Serna wrote, “is to make more students who are fully prepared and who wish to attend college, feel like insiders to the college choice process. It is also to make certain that they can access the best education available to them based on ability and merit.”

Other articles in SEMQ 3:3 include: “Faculty’s  Role in Retention: A Case Study of Change Management at Ramapo College,” by Christopher Romano and Joseph F. Connell, Ramapo College of New Jersey; “Improving Student Success by Understanding Reasons For, Types Of, and Appropriate Responses To Stressors Affecting Asian Graduate Students in Canada,” by Andrew Kim, Memorial University of Newfoundland; “Tuition Discounting and Socioeconomic Diversity at Larger Private Universities,” by Jason Kent Reinoehl and Theodore J. Kowalski, University of Dayton.

SEM Quarterly, published by AACRAO and Wiley Periodicals, provides knowledge and insight into the ongoing evolution of strategic enrollment management (SEM). SEMQ bridges the gap between theory and practice with articles by thought leaders and practitioners who address the emerging dynamics of SEM, including: executive-level leadership, leading strategies, internationalization, research, academic orientation, and current trends.

For more information, or to submit a manuscript, please contact Editor-in-Chief Tom Green at, or Managing Editor Heather Zimar at


Sharpen your SEM Expertise

AACRAO has a certification program to improve your competencies in Strategic Enrollment Management.  AACRAO’s Endorsement Program (SEM-EP)  provides a self-paced professional development program and career advancement track for in-service enrollment professionals. Participants engage in a rigorous and stimulating curriculum taught by SEM leaders. The curriculum includes online courses, webinars, field visits, and a capstone research experience. AACRAO recognizes graduates with the formal “SEM-EP” designation, indicating assessed readiness to meet current and future challenges in the field of Enrollment Management. For more information about the program, please visit the SEM-EP website.