AACRAO Consulting Blog

It’s all in the SEMantics

Keeping you ahead of the higher education curve is what we do. That includes providing quick and easy access to critical insight and information you can leverage to make better strategic decisions. Our SEMantics blog shares the latest news about the work our consultants are doing with institutions across the nation and the world, as well as the latest trends and developments that impact you. Read our most recent posts here, or browse through our archive by topic or key word.

Is the SEM Process useful in a time of seismic change?

As higher education professionals, our chief mission is to provide an optimal educational environment. We are enabled to do that if our institution is healthy, a state usually reached when our enrollment meets our expectations. Thanks to the pandemic, our status and our expectations are now a matter of new and uneasy speculation.

Strategies for student success: Preparation, progression, and completion

Numerous practitioners and researchers have dedicated time to key concepts supporting successful retention strategies. Certainly Vincent Tinto’s early work on the theory on student departure and Alexander Astin’s (1986) focus on how to best integrate a student within the institution grounds much of this work.

The value of relationships in SEM planning

Bontrager and Green (2012) have delineated a structure for Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) planning that has been used successfully on hundreds of campuses. The importance of tying the SEM plan to the institutional strategic plan, building the plan’s foundation on data, focusing on the strategic rather than the shiny are all carefully explained.

6 strategies to rethink multicultural recruitment

In “Being Strategic with Multicultural Recruitment,” a session at AACRAO 2019, Monze Stark-Magana, University of Idaho; Alphonso Garrett, Virginia Tech; and Michael Sanders, Missouri Southern State University, shared ways they’ve helped their schools increase multicultural student enrollment.

The subtle art of graduate enrollment management

“Many of the dimensions we focus on in GEM are exactly the same as in SEM: how do you identify and connect with students; how do you walk them through the funnel so they apply and yield; once they’re on campus, how do you retain them through graduation; and how do you maintain a connection with them as alumni, as well?” said Dennis Livesay, Dean and Professor in the College of Engineering at Wichita State University (WSU).

4 ways to engage faculty in international SEM

Colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada are increasingly becoming ethno-culturally and linguistically diverse which is partially due to increasing enrollment of international students. Currently 1.4 million international students choose to study at U.S. and Canadian postsecondary educational institutions, which increased by 7.1 percent between 2015 and 2016 (Canadian Bureau of International Education, 2016; Institute of International Education, 2016).

Reverse engineer Strategic Enrollment Management for GREAT outcomes

Presenters Stephen Hundley and Boyd Bradshaw propose a GREAT organizing framework to ensure colleges are following an Enrollment Management model as opposed to an enrollment services model. GREAT, which stands for Graduate, Retain, Engage, Admit, and Tell - helps shift the SEM focus away from solely admissions/recruitment to involve the entire campus as stakeholders.

Taking SEM Home

Karen Miller, Provost and Executive Vice President of Access, Learning and Success at Cuyahoga Community College, and Dr. Brent Gage, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management at The University of Iowa, led attendees in discussing how to take SEM home and make a difference - how to apply principles learned to make changes for our students, colleagues, and community.

Second-year slump: The honeymoon's over

"Institutions typically invest heavily in the first-year experience to promote persistence, yet colleges are also experiencing a pattern of attrition in the second year," observed Althea J. Sterling, Assistant Dean for Student Services at Touro Law Center. "The second year is viewed as a period in which students encounter increasing academic, developmental, and social demands, yet the institution tends to provide less support relative to the first year."

3 tips for building the strongest SEM team possible

To achieve organization-wide strategic enrollment management (SEM) plan buy-in, two- and four-year institutions are deploying campus-wide SEM teams. A well-functioning team can greatly increase the chances of your plan’s success.