Northern Oklahoma College (NOC)
Location: Tonkawa, Enid & Stillwater, OK
Oklahoma’s oldest public community college with multiple campuses, NOC provides a high quality, accessible, and affordable education with a focus on collaborative and creative learning. In 2016, NOC began working on an overarching strategic plan to direct the future of the college. Within that plan, NOC wanted to specifically address strategies and efforts around recruitment, retention, and graduation to identify opportunities for improvement and better alignment with the institution’s mission and vision.
After successfully removing barriers in its transfer processes, NOC had been enjoying a higher-than-average graduation rate for a community college. But the college had never developed a formal recruitment plan. Focused on daily tasks and processes, the enrollment department had not completed a deep dive into the data to see how the college’s recruitments efforts were performing, and what might be done differently to improve application and enrollment numbers.
NOC knew the best way to identify opportunities for improvement would be to bring in outside experts to evaluate recruitment efforts. The college selected AACRAO Consulting for its thought leadership in the field of Strategic Enrollment Management.
AACRAO Consulting began the engagement by conducting a series of comprehensive on-site interviews with administration, faculty, students, and staff over the course of two days. Prior to their on-site visit, AACRAO Consultants also collected and reviewed in-depth data around NOC’s recruitment, enrollment, retention and application volume so that the consultants were well-informed and prepared for their review.
Based on discoveries from the interviews and data review, AACRAO Consulting developed a preliminary plan detailing their findings and recommendations. This plan was submitted to the college’s president and Senior Executive Team for assessment and feedback. After completing additional refinements and clarifications based on leadership input, AACRAO Consulting submitted their formal recommendations for developing a Strategic Enrollment Management plan to support NOC’s overall strategic vision.
AACRAO Consulting identified and outlined practical and actionable recommendations for a more strategic approach to recruitment and enrollment. This included recommendations for the acquisition of new ERP and CRM systems designed to automate and streamline recruitment, application, and enrollment processes. AACRAO Consulting additionally advised NOC to develop a communications plan for reaching prospective students and applicants, along with the technology to maximize the success of this plan. By modernizing their systems, NOC would be able to move away from their existing labor-intensive manual processes that were creating errors and delays in student response times.
AACRAO Consulting’s recommendations provided NOC with the foundation to build the college’s first Strategic Enrollment Management plan. The work AACRAO Consultants did allowed enrollment leadership to identify enrollment targets, dates for hitting those targets, as well as processes to measure the college’s progress toward achieving its goals.
The recommendations put forth by AACRAO Consulting have served beyond recruitment efforts as well. NOC’s president now plans to use the Strategic Enrollment Management plan to drive the college’s broader institutional decision-making.