Simon Fraser University (SFU)
Location: Burnaby, Canada
With three campuses in British Columbia, SFU has grown to become one of Canada’s leading comprehensive institutions and is part of the prestigious U15 group of top Canadian research universities. In the face of this growth, the university knew it
needed to reassess the efforts and effectiveness of its Student Recruitment and Undergraduate Admissions departments. This included ensuring that both departments had the processes and practices in place to support a more strategic approach to the
university’s enrollment. To assist with this goal, AACRAO Consulting was brought in to complete multiple engagements over the course of several years.
SFU’s Undergraduate Admissions and Student Recruitment departments had been struggling with what they knew were cumbersome and inefficient processes, and a lack of cross-departmental communication. As a result, admissions and recruitment functions were not properly aligned or working in concert to support enrollment goals. A lack of communication and coordination between the two departments had led to duplication and inefficiencies that were impacting student services and faculty relationships. AACRAO Consulting was given the task to review and evaluate both departments to identify opportunities for improved efficiencies, communication, and alignment.
AACRAO Consulting came onto the SFU campus to conduct a series of interviews with members of the communications, recruitment, and enrollment teams as well as multiple faculty committees, academic advisors, and associate deans. Following each day of interviews, AACRAO Consultants debriefed enrollment leadership with their key findings to keep SFU project leaders in the loop.
AACRAO Consulting also thoroughly reviewed recruitment and admissions processes, recruitment communications, and admissions data to determine the effectiveness of the university’s current approach. Based on their findings, AACRAO Consultants submitted a series of reports and worked closely with SFU’s enrollment team to make refinements.
The final report included actionable recommendations that provided a clear pathway for merging and aligning the recruitment and admissions departments under one office and leader: The Office of Student Recruitment and Admissions.
As a result of implementing AACRAO Consulting’s recommendations, SFU saw noticeable improvements in their recruitment and admissions operations. Both teams are now working together more efficiently, with less duplication and overlap of functions, and coordinating efforts regularly with ongoing communications and meetings. This has led to a marked improvement in the processing and delivery of student services and satisfaction. The improvements have also strengthened relationships with faculty, who have praised the Office for its prompt and simplified service.
Following the initial engagement, AACRAO Consulting returned for additional consultation to help assess and improve the structure of its Office of Student Recruitment and Admissions, and the implementation of a CRM platform to support more strategic and streamlined communications with prospective and admitted students. With the CRM platform in place, the university will now be able to track the results of its recruitment and admissions efforts more effectively and accurately.