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Changing College Landscape

Will you be celebrating with us on May 1st, the National Deadline Day for college enrollment? Will you be celebrating with us in May next year and the year after? Are you setting up your university for enrollment success for the future? You need to know what is coming. Clayton Christensen, "The Father of Disruptive Innovation," a professor at Harvard Business School has predicted that by 2027 half of the colleges and universities will close or merge with another. Predictions drive me crazy, BUT if you look at the reasons and the statistics, maybe it has some truth to it, and we should prepare. He convinces us that industry creates cheaper methods to evolve and in education the introduction of on-line learning alone is changing our industry. Can on-line learning put some of us out of business if we don't instill a growth mindset in our staff and faculty to prepare for innovations? Should we add on-line classes to our offerings, and if we have already added them, have we added enough? Have we convinced our faculty that they need to teach on-line classes? Or, are we still struggling with the idea and implementation? Are we set up to create on-line classes and do we want to? Maybe we are in a great university that is doing well and achieving our enrollment every year, with no threat from competition. Maybe we are not tuition driven. Maybe we have a ranking that will survive all innovations and threats from our competition. Maybe, just maybe.

These cheaper innovations, like Hulu and Uber are examples of how other industries have been and are being changed. How many of us have changed our TV and cable services as a result of Hulu and Netflix. Do you still hail a cab or do you get in an Uber that eliminates the credit card exchange that is exhausting at your destination. I tried a cab yesterday for the first time in almost a year, and it was not up to my expectations. I have to admit uber has changed my life for the better. We all want our services to be efficient, and so do students.

Clayton Christensen might be right, and some of our smaller, more rural, satellite campuses might become a thing of the past unless we begin to look at ways to innovate all of our college services. Disruptive innovation involves a growth mindset. Is your college ready to make changes that might be necessary to thrive in the next decade? We are dealing with Gen-Z students who are cost conscious, loan adverse, and parents who are the number one influencer of college choice. Are you courting your parents and your students? Are you courting them early enough? Are you spending enough in scholarship dollars or too much? What is too much if you have empty seats and/or empty beds? Are you creating programs for the future that students need and want to study. They have a lot of options, and they are applying at more #colleges and #universities. And transferring is not as difficult as it once was for students. Is your retention holding and slowing showing a decline? Do you have a channel mix that creates the consistent, constant, unique student-centered focus that is necessary to drive success in your enrollment strategy. And, are you continuing to sell to your current students each year to make sure that they return to your campus? Sometimes, it is easier to get them than to keep them. You need to keep up with the research and develop strategic plans for implementation as you develop your enrollment strategies.

Admission Network an educational consulting and coaching firm ( can help you with professional development, seminars and strategic plans to ensure that you are celebrating with us and others on May 1st...every year!

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