SEM Quarterly was launched to fill a void in an ever-growing conversation, to explore the many aspects and broad potential of strategic enrollment management in higher education today, as well as to contribute to this area of study within the broader higher education research agenda. As budgets fall and demands for accountability rise, a greater understanding of the student population can only benefit institutions of higher learning. SEMQ takes a long, integrated view of the student lifecycle, while respecting the student as a learner, rather than a customer. From admissions through course selection, advisers, and choice of major to graduation and career, SEMQ offers practical ways to optimize student success among an increasingly diverse group of learners. On the administrative side, SEMQ improves institutional function with articles on business practices, marketing, record-keeping, institutional research and analysis, and alumni relations. The authors are all involved in SEM and the articles reflect their practical orientation and experience.

SEM Quarterly recognizes the different perspectives held by different types of students and institutions. The needs and goals of students will vary based on a range of demographic factors and life circumstances. Similarly, the missions, opportunities, and responsibilities of small private colleges are different from those of large public research universities and community colleges, but they are also different from small public institutions or large private ones. Some SEMQ authors provide information useful across student and institutional types; others focus more tightly, looking at one type of student or institution.