Enrollment Management, Higher Education

Recruiting International Students – 7 Lessons Learned (with many more to come)

Recruiting international students is nothing – and everything – like recruiting domestic students to college.  I’m the first to admit that the international arena is, or at least was, foreign to me.  And, like a lot of learning experiences, the best way to learn is to jump in with both feet and take in as much as possible.  I am far from an expert, but as I reflect on my international recruiting experiences over the last four months, I thought it might be helpful to share a few of the lessons I’ve learned relative to what is both different and the same.  A bit of quick context, Doane College has a history of international recruiting (albeit not incredibly substantial at this point) and promotes internationalization of our students.  That said, our international presence on campus is quite small and has been considered more reactive rather than proactive.  So, when our President, Dr. Jacque Carter, encouraged us to make international recruitment (specifically considering a connection in China) a priority late last spring, the admission office had much to learn.  Once we learned we would most likely have 6 students from China in the fall, our internal team scrambled to learn and make this work for the college and students. We have an individual in the admission office who has experience with the I-20 and also a good resource on campus in our Office of International Studies but this was going to be a bit different to what we typically experience with international students.  In this case, we worked with an agent and the pace was much quicker with more on the line. Here is my quick reflection on the experience.

  1. Learn the lingo! I understood – in general – that there were additional different forms important to international recruiting such as the I-20.  But, I admit that I had not spent much time on that form, and therefore did not completely understand the importance.  The most important terms for me to understand and ultimately study to enable me to be effective were:  I-17, I-20, and F-1 VISA.  Specifically, we spent a good deal of time understanding and ultimately requesting modifications to our institution’s Form I-17.  It was out-of-date and did not reflect the approach we plan to take regarding international student admission moving forward.  It does now!  I look back on my first days in admissions over 15 years ago and remember the new lingo I learned back then as well.
  2. Determine the difference between an internal policy (or practice) and the law. Many institutions have created internal policies in order to minimize institutional risk relative to international recruitment.  This is important, but internal policies may need to be modified, particularly if they haven’t been reviewed in years or if they don’t match with an institutional direction.  It is possible that one of your greatest hurdles in recruitment is one that you created unintentionally.  On the other hand, understanding the laws that govern international student enrollment is critical to managing internal policy.  Whether it’s international or domestic, often our own policies can be a source of great frustration.
  3. Details are important. While this is true in much that we do professionally, I point this lesson out because of the many differences in international recruitment relative to what admissions offices deal with regularly.  It’s easy to take what we deal with every day for granted.  Whether it’s the language barriers or time zones (and not just 2 hours difference), it’s very important to plan and coordinate communication often with prospective students, agents, agencies, or partner institutions.  It’s not as easy as just picking up the phone at 2:00 in the afternoon.  Also, I had to remind myself that most of these students don’t have a college counseling office in their high school.  Nothing should be taken for granted and be very careful assuming anything.
  4. Find professional allies. I learned much through the experience, but it’s safe to say that I received two different answers from colleagues to questions on a regular basis and therefore it’s not always easy to know the correct or best path to follow.  As a result, it’s important to have some professional allies outside your institution that you can call and seek advice.  Higher education is typically a very collegial professional environment and international recruitment is a great example of this.  Keep in mind, however, that often there can be multiple answers and the options aren’t always black and white.  Again, professional allies are quite beneficial even in domestic recruiting whether it be listserves or your personal mentor.
  5. It takes a village. Most institutions have processes for domestic student enrollment that are well understood and have built-in on-campus collaboration.  For example, new student course registration, orientation, move-in processes, and simple paperwork are just a few.  It’s not necessarily easy to just infuse your international students into these processes without some level of modification.  Moreover, consider if you have 6 or 60 international students!  Even with just 6 international students, many offices must be collaborating in order to make the transitional experience efficient and effective.
  6. It’s still who you know! In my opinion, effective international recruitment still requires a key relationship to set anything in motion.  Without that relationship, the world just seems too big.  However, the right relationship can turn into a very promising partnership.
  7. The experience is very rewarding. I’m grateful for the experience I had this summer and look forward to an opportunity to strengthen our relationship with some Chinese partners while also looking to expand our international footprint.  Doane College welcomed six students from China this fall resulting from a new partnership.

I anticipate that our international recruitment plan at Doane College will evolve significantly over the next 12-18 months.  I look forward to this challenge and opportunity to learn, not only from our new partners but possibly from some of you out in the higher education world who have already parted the waters of the international recruitment sea.

Dr. Jacque Carter, Doane College President, with 6 international students from China.

Dr. Jacque Carter, Doane College President, with 6 international students from China.

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Enrollment Management, Higher Education Marketing

Mortimer, We’re Back!

Those words of the infamous Randolph Duke expressed to Mortimer Duke in a scene of Coming to America came to mind this week as I reflected on the time of year and my blog. Today, students are arriving on the Doane College campus to begin orientation while all over Nebraska (and across the nation), high school students are crossing the classroom thresholds for the first time since last spring anticipating what will come of this new year. It’s an exciting time for many to be sure.

As many students look forward, enrollment professionals tend to first look back. While it’s true that we are anxious for the start of a new recruiting year, admission directors crunch data and survey the higher education landscape to understand what worked and what didn’t work over the last year. Whether we anticipate making our enrollment numbers or not, it doesn’t change the questions that we seek answers to because one thing is for sure; higher education enrollment management is not getting easier, particularly in the private sector.

Then again, as much as changed, there are still constants. Students must apply and be admitted in order to enroll. And, students generally will not enroll if they have not visited the campus. So, as we lament over the tactics that we deployed last year, our bottom line question is rather simple. How do we influence more students to apply and visit? This is why higher education has become so commercialized. In some cases, yield on the number of applicants can fluctuate a few percentage points but enrollment growth or even just enrollment stability is predicated on colleges being able to convince enough students to complete an application and visit the campus. And, because of the commercialization, there is a tremendous amount of “noise” for students and parents to filter through to make their decisions. Truth be told, even if a student applies to 15 colleges, how many can they realistically visit, particularly during the academic year? To that point, colleges must figure out a way to be one of 3-5 true options in a student’s senior year.

So, the onslaught of communication continues and even increases for high school juniors and seniors. Mailboxes (because print mail still matters!) and email accounts will be filled with college information. And, make no mistake, every private college has amazing professors, small student-to-faculty ratios, and will tout new facilities. Filtering through the noise is exactly what students need to do. Results matter. Outcomes can distinguish one school from another. And no doubt, fit continues to be important. At Doane College, we’ve taken the step of identifying what we believe makes us different; what sets us apart from the crowd that will also resonate with students and parents. Our communication material will reflect our identity which can be summed up with the following “elevator statement”.

 

Doane College is a world-class private college excelling at teaching tomorrow’s educators and conducting real-world scientific research. We provide guarantees to graduate in both three- and four-year programs with an inclusive community where students can fit in here and stand out after college.

 

Check out this short video.

Using this statement as a guide, we are making sure our messages within brochures, emails, and digital media are focused and speak to the issues that students and parents expect to be addressed by colleges.  Every college has something special about it.  Connecting students to that something special takes considerable efforts and resources in today’s market.

My blog took a short hiatus over the summer, but we are off and running again. We’re back!

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Higher Education

Why make the investment in a liberal arts college?

I had the pleasure of visiting with a father recently that is on the verge of sending his daughter to Doane College.  He shared with me that he had not attended college and has held many manual labor jobs over the course of his career.  While successful, he acknowledged that he had to scrape and claw most of his professional life in order to not only succeed but at times simply to make ends meet.  He confided in me his concern for his daughter.  He said, “She doesn’t really know what she wants to do.  I’m concerned about spending so much given that uncertainty.”

If I had a quarter for every time I’ve heard that concern.  He went on to share that what makes him more comfortable – although not completely comfortable – with her lack of career direction is the fact that she is choosing a liberal arts college.  While I was excited to hear this, I’ll admit that I don’t hear that as often as I would like from parents.  He admitted that this is his first (and only) child so the entire process is new to him, but he has paid particular attention to what colleges and universities have shared about the educational value that they offer.  He acknowledged that attending a private college is more expensive, but he desperately wants to believe in what we’ve put in our marketing material.  He wants to believe that our liberal arts education is the best investment in his daughter’s future.

First, what a great guy!  There is a great deal of discussion regarding the value of the liberal arts in higher education (and I think a misunderstanding of the word liberal altogether.  But, we’ll leave that for another day.)  For example, consider this great article on 5 reasons to attend a liberal arts college.  When I encounter this issue with students or parents, I typically share my personal experience.  I was like many high school students who have an interest but not necessarily true direction for a career.  Back in the early 1990’s when Apple was big in education I heard a lot about desktop publishing.  I was not an artist, but I did enjoy working with layout software on computers.  As a result, I did some work on the profession as a senior project.  Given that I had started down this path I felt to a degree obligated to continue forward.  So, my interest brought me to a small private college which was in the early stages of a graphic design degree program.  All this to share that while I obtained my BA degree with a major in graphic design, I ultimately decided that I did not have the necessary talent to earn a living doing that work.  Frankly, I just wasn’t creative enough.

I share this because what I learned – which had always been told to me – is that the sum of my liberal arts experience prepared me for much more than I could have imagined – more than any single class.  While it prepared me to be a graphic designer by trade if I chose to, it also opened my future options to a career and profession that I could not have imagined while in college.  I still remember not wanting to take the history course or the marriage & family course.  But now, I understand why those were important and why they provided me with a great foundation.  I didn’t particularly enjoy math and like most college students majoring in art, I often asked why I need a math course when I’m not going to use math in my career.  I was a stupid, smart kid!

I believe the liberal arts experience prepares a student for more than what they think they need to know to be successful.  But, possibly more important, it gives students the foundation for a long successful professional life which will likely take twists and turns that at the moment may seem absurd.  I believe that people hiring students out of college are looking for college experiences that show the person can think critically, communicate effectively, listen, and learn.  I recognize that the student’s major can and does matter but I believe there should be more to it.  After all, how does a graphic design major end up as a successful fundraiser and higher education enrollment manager?  And, oh by the way, while I’ve continued to utilize the skills I learned through my graphic design degree, I also use math a lot!  A college degree prepares you for a job.   A liberal arts degree prepares you for careers – particularly those that don’t exist today.  While it’s true that students can obtain a liberal arts-type experience at a large, public institution, they will have to work at it and seek it out.  At colleges like Doane, it’s interwoven into the entire experience.  It’s what we do and I believe we do it very well.

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Higher Education

In Higher Education, What Actions Represent a Commitment to Diversity – Inclusion?

I am a white, blond, blue-eyed male working at a rural Nebraska private, independent, liberal arts college.  I’m comfortable here – possibly too comfortable!  Hear me out.  I tend to believe the college educational environment should be created to challenge many of our beliefs in a safe environment.  This is one reason why I love the idea that students should travel abroad or experience an urban plunge.  We need to see how others live. I believe it’s healthy to be in uncomfortable (yet safe) environments to learn and reflect on experiences that may challenge our beliefs or personal expectations based on our own experiences.  When I consider skin color and student demographics, (as well as faculty and staff) there are many others “like me” on this campus.  Skin color is the same and like me, many students, faculty, and staff come from a small Midwest community.  And, like me, many have not been – let alone spent much time in – a metropolitan area (not sure Lincoln, NE applies here).

Recently, a gentleman conducted a workshop on our campus on diversity; Finding Common Ground.  He shared many things that stick with me but one activity in particular really got me thinking.  He was working us through our mission statement and strategic plan highlighting key words in the documents and engaging us in conversation about what these words meant to us.  Not the definition via Wikipedia, but the meanings in our minds.  There were many words we discussed but two that really hit home from our mission statement; “inclusive” and “commitment”.

What really struck me was the notion that both these words can mean slightly different things to different people.  I hadn’t thought of it that way.  I say them with relative ease and believe that they mean the same thing to most everyone.  That’s simply not true.  Put us all in a room and ask for each of us to interpret the meaning of “inclusive”.  There will be similarities no doubt but the speaker pointed out vividly an example in which context and culture impact the meaning of words to each of us.

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Reflect on this through-provoking example.  Consider the word “ethical”.  I believe that my understanding of what it means to be ethical is in line with most people.  But, picture for a moment a father with three children in a poverty stricken area where there is no food readily available.  He has no money to purchase food [Forget any argument that he should have a job or that he shouldn’t have had children if he can’t support them].  This man sees a food stand which in his opinion has plenty of food.  He makes the decision to take some food – not too much, but just enough – for his children to eat.  In fact, he doesn’t give himself any food.  He simply provides for his children.  In this man’s world, could he consider it to be ethical to steal in order to provide for a family?

I’m not condoning stealing nor is this an argument on ethics.  Rather, I’m pointing out the fact that what I tend to believe is a common understanding of a word or situation can be quite different from another person, particularly when you consider context.  So, when the topic of diversity is brought up, it is important to engage in a discussion in order to best understand what people think diversity means.  I believe there is a good chance that not everyone is thinking exactly the same way. 

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Back to my two words.  I believe in being inclusive.  But, to what extent do I believe in being inclusive?  Am I inclusive to the extent that I remain comfortable?  The fact that we at Doane College have a 13% minority population doesn’t make me uncomfortable.   I’m disappointed that our population isn’t more diverse as a college, but I’m certainly not uncomfortable.  So, it’s easy for me to say I want to be more inclusive.  In fact, is there a certain percent that would justify me saying we are inclusive?  What if 50% of our student body was Black, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, or Native American?  Is that now inclusive?  It’s much more inclusive no doubt.  At that level of diversity, would I still be comfortable?  And, if I’m uncomfortable do I still believe in being inclusive?  My point is that it’s easier to believe in inclusion because the antithesis may be frowned upon.  Who is going to say, “I don’t want to be inclusive?”  But do we truly believe?  Keep in mind my example is only related to skin color or ethnicity.  I don’t believe that the idea of inclusion is limited to our skin color.

Now, “commitment”.  Again, I believe most people understand the word commitment.  I wonder, however, if the level of commitment and the word commitment itself can be easily misleading.  At Doane we have a commitment to increasing diversity on our campus for students, faculty, and staff.  My question, what actions adequately represent commitment?  This diversity training workshop included 40 staff out of at least 200 potential attendees.  Does this workshop represent commitment?  To some it may.  We are moving forward with the appointment of a cabinet level position, Vice President for Access, Equity, and Diversity.  Will the appointment of a person in this position fulfill our commitment?  Or, is commitment ongoing regardless of what has been accomplished?

I bring this point up not to question our (Doane’s) commitment but to encourage people to reflect on a personal commitment to diversity and inclusion.  I’m working to reflect on my personal commitment and what I can do in my role to increase diversity and be more inclusive.  Thinking about it for 2 hours once every couple months may be one person’s definition of commitment because it represents movement forward beyond what was before.  To another, it may still not represent a true commitment.

I believe in the Doane College mission which embraces diversity.  I don’t say this as an expert or even someone who has experienced an environment with great diversity.  I want to be a man who embraces diversity personally and learns from my fellow man regardless of skin color or background.  I’m seeking to put myself in a position which may challenge my comforts and seek a greater appreciation and learning from those who have different experiences than me.  And, I believe higher education is the perfect environment to learn both as young adults and those of us old dogs that need to be taught new tricks.

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Doane College’s mission is to provide an exceptional liberal arts education in a creative, inclusive, and collaborative community where faculty and staff work closely with undergraduate and graduate students preparing them for lives rooted in intellectual inquiry, ethical values, and a commitment to engage as leaders and responsible citizens in the world.

 

The opinions expressed in this blog are that of Joel M. Weyand alone and do not reflect the position of Doane College.

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Higher Education

Social Media Follow-up: Successful Facebooking as a Professional

Last week’s post on social media seemed to hit home with many.  Truth be told, my 16 year-old niece has more experience in social media than I could imagine.  I think she was recently rated as the top “tweeter” in the Lincoln, Nebraska area.  Last fall when I contemplated starting a blog  I also gave thought to what might be the best way to utilize Facebook, Twitter, and other tools (I have a lot to learn!).  Although a bit dated, I found a great read in the book Inbound Marketing written by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah.  It provided some great insight on jumping into the social media world from a business perspective.  Another great resource is often our peers and colleagues.  For a Friday easy read I’d like to give a shout-out to respected colleague, W. Kent Barnds, VP for Enrollment, Communication and Planning at Augustana College.  His post, “Facebooking and being a professional in higher ed: does it mix?” provides some great guidance for those looking at how to approach Facebook as a professional.

Here are a few quick snippets from his blog post:

W. Kent Barnds, March 6, 2012

I know many, many people have addressed this topic and I am not sure I am any better equipped to do so than those who already done so. However, last week I was asked by someone, who I group into the categories of friend, Facebook friend and professional colleague, about my approach to using Facebook. 

This friend and professional colleague asked how I prevent or avoid getting engaged in an Augustana College debate/discussion on Facebook?

My summary tips…

1. Don’t abandon Facebook, but figure out how to shape it. 

2. Don’t abandon your raunchy friends, but figure out a way to ensure they respect the microscope you are under as a professional.

3. Use Facebook to shape your raunchy and non-raunchy friends. How do you want them to perceive your professional life and what you are doing? I try to show the following things: I am professional. I am a thought-leader. I am excited about my role and my colleague. I am excited about the place I work. I am fun to be around and have opinions, but not opinions about anything directly related to college business.

4. Choose your method of communication for professional dialog and stick to it. Don’t go back and forth and don’t treat all Facebook friends equally. 

5. Don’t abandon Facebook. It has the very powerful potential to demonstrate attitude and personality. I think that’s important.

 

Interested in reading more?  Check out the full post.

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Higher Education Marketing

Successful Social Media Requires You To Fight Your Fear

(Jim Braunschweig, Account Executive for JD Gordon Creative Labs in Sioux City, Iowa, is a guest blogger this week providing his perspective on social media, specifically the hesitation of higher education marketing to embrace and jump into the social media frenzy)

‘Social’ and ‘Media’ – two simple words easily defined and understood when they stand-alone. But together, these words take on a whole new meaning which we’re still trying to fully comprehend. While a definition for ‘Social Media’ exists, it still remains one of the most misunderstood, controversial, and (from the perspective of a business owner) the most complicated and feared strategies to implement within an organization’s overall marketing plan.

Definitions:
Social: relating to or involving activities in which people spend time talking to each other or doing enjoyable things with each other

Media: a particular form or system of communication (such as newspapers, radio, or television)

Social Media: forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos)

Why do we fear ‘Social Media’? We fear it because it’s powerful. We fear it because we don’t understand it. But, most importantly, we fear it because as we’ve come to find out – we can’t control it, no matter how hard we try. Let’s be honest – the potential power which Social Media grants to any person who is able to ‘figure it out’ and ‘use it best’ intimidates us. No longer are the highest ranking individuals or most educated people in society able to decide the information that will be shared, control how it will be dispersed, or even whom it reaches. Ever since social media came along, the playing field has continued to level out so much so that nearly everyone has a chance to have their voice and opinion shared with the world, gain attention, inspire people to take action, and if it’s good enough, potentially make a global impact. When you think about it – how awesome is that?!?

But, now think about this… if all this is true (which it is, and there are plenty examples to back this up), then why aren’t more businesses, focusing more attention on how they can get the most out of their social media presence – rather than treating it as an afterthought – with little to no strategy or overall purpose for the content their creating, and the way in which they share it.

From my experience, the answer is simple: The business leaders and other professionals who have the authority to hire the talent, or allocate the funds necessary to implement a successful (not to mention measurable) social media strategy don’t fully understand what ‘Social Media’ is, and as I mentioned earlier – it’s just human nature to fear the unknown.

I apologize if that last statement came off condescending – I assure you I didn’t mean for it to come across that way. To be honest, I’m not sure if anyone ‘fully’ understands it, but what separates those who are successful (or will be successful) with Social Media and those who aren’t (or haven’t been) is the simple fact the ones we consider successful take action, experiment, and ‘play’ with social media – sometimes even making a few minor mistakes along the way, but they don’t let themselves be stricken with paralysis by analysis, nor do they stew on the bad things that could happen. Instead, they think about all the amazing ways in which these tools can help them connect, engage, and better understand their customers and clients, their wants and needs, so they can continually improve their product or service; which will lead to more raving fans, and ultimately, more business.

To be successful with Social Media requires organizations, specifically their leaders, to fight their fears – to be ok moving forward and learning as you go. For a great example of a Higher Ed Institution which has always been an early adopter to the new practices within social media and embraces the possibilities it has to offer I suggest you pay close attention to Texas A&M. Check out an innovative way they used Facebook, YouTube, Foursquare and Twitter together back in 2011 to increase real life engagement through a scavenger hunt (Twitter was fairly new at the time). – http://bit.ly/TAMU_SocialMedia.

I could go on and on, and with Joel’s permission would love to do further ‘guest posts’ that go more in depth about how to use various social media platforms, discuss the capabilities of each, and share best practices for engaging with your audience in those spaces. But, for now, I’d just like to end this post with a sincere thank you to Joel for allowing me to be a part of his blog, and say that I know for a fact, Doane College is lucky to have a leader who fits the description of the type needed to help bring about change and implement a successful social media strategy.

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Enrollment Management

[March Madness] Enrollment Management

Imagine, if you will, the high school senior that creates a tournament bracket similar to college basketball and seeds each of his potential college suitors in accordance with his interest.  Then, one by one he pits each school against one another using financial aid as the sole contributing factor to the decision on which college or university moves on to the next round.  (I saw something similar to this in our student affairs office last year when a college senior created a bracket during March representing his law school choices.)  As an enrollment management professional at a private, independent college and obviously not knowing explicitly who my institution is competing with, a process like this would make me cringe.

In the admission and financial aid office at Doane College, March 13th represents the date when we make our first official financial aid offers to prospective students.  We will mail over 400 financial aid awards representing over half of the total number of awards we will make this recruiting cycle.  And, when you consider that our first “wave” of financial aid awards accounts for roughly 60% of our anticipated class, it makes sense that this is a big deal.

March is maddening, particularly in this day and age in higher education and this would be true without college basketball!  I’ve discussed in previous posts the challenges of merit aid, price, cost, and tuition.  Financial aid is a beast and a blessing in enrollment management.  No two schools develop their financial aid policy and strategy the same.  As a result, all who want to make apples to apples comparisons with financial aid awards are easily frustrated.  A consequence of this process is an increasing demand for financial aid negotiations between potential students (or the parents) and the college.  At times it’s laughable because I often see those who have the greatest ability to pay for college lobbying for the greatest amount of aid.  But, then I ask myself, “Who could blame them?”  Just because people have wealth doesn’t mean they are any more interested in parting with it.  Nevertheless, I often hear more appeals for families with the financial resources than I do for those that do not.

Those in enrollment management understand that financial aid can be very complicated and therefore isn’t always the easiest to explain to families.  Even if you can articulate your institution’s philosophy and process, good luck helping a family understand why their Expected Family Contribution is $20,000 as defined by the FAFSA.  Who hasn’t heard the comment, “I don’t have $20,000 in the bank to pay for Junior’s college each year!”?  I suppose the saving grace is to share that the EFC is calculated the same for everyone and therefore each school is using the same information.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t provide families with much comfort.

So, how does an admission counselor navigate the March Madness bracket with a prospective student in the event they focus largely on the financial aid award?  As a private, independent college, how can we compete with the local community college on price?  If you draw that match-up do you simply throw in the towel?  How about if you draw the local state institution?  Maybe you have a chance if the student isn’t getting any aid from the state school.  But what if you draw another area competitor; similar college if you will?  Slam dunk, right?  Hmmm, not so fast.  In the end, we must to talk about value.  We cannot let it be only about cost even when we know that is a significant issue.

Let me share a brief story.  A father visits Doane College with his son.  During the visit they indicate that they have received an “offer” from another private, independent college in the state totaling more than our offer.  When asked for the details of the offer in order to determine if we could find a way to be more competitive, the father indicated that he doesn’t work that way.  He is a farmer and he likened his son’s college choice to a recent purchase of a tractor. He shared, “When I need a tractor, I go to two businesses and ask for the best price on a tractor.  Whoever gives me the best offer gets my business.”  I asked the father, “Sir, were both tractors John Deere?”  He indicated that both were Case to which I replied, “Sir, in your example, what if you were comparing Case to John Deere?  Would price be your only comparison point?”  I would bet that John Deere and Case reps would work hard to argue the differences in their tractors if given the chance.  That being said, if from the beginning this farmer knew that he wanted a Case, the fact that we are John Deere is irrelevant because it’s very possible that we don’t have what you want.  Comparing Doane College to another school based only on financial aid is shortsighted and assumes that everything else is equal.  A better financial offer from us may make your decision more difficult but it sounds like this farmer and his son had already decided what they wanted.

March Madness in higher education admissions seems to be all about financial aid and less the importance of fit and comfort in a college choice.  As colleges, we create financial aid awarding strategies in order to provide enough financial aid to make enrollment possible for a target amount of prospective students while also anticipating resulting revenue.  Ultimately, our awards will not be the best award for every student.  It doesn’t (and can’t!) work that way.  But, we want to be right for 350 first-year students for sure!

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