NACAS Perspectives

Written By:
Jeffrey Tice
Director of Membership
NACAS
jeffrey.tice@nacas.org

Enrollment and Auxiliary Services in the Wake of COVID-19

Greetings, NACAS! I am excited to contribute to our new Perspectives series to talk to you about an area of higher education that I am passionate about: Enrollment management. What members probably do not know about me is that I spent the majority of my higher education career prior to joining NACAS working in enrollment management. I have done everything from hitting the road attending college fairs, reading applications, and planning and hosting events for an R1 research institution.

For decades, the nation’s most competitive universities have relied on May 1 as the date to know whether they hit their target for the upcoming year. 2020 was set to bring new challenges to enrollment managers due to the conclusion of a recent lawsuit involving the National Association of College Admission Counseling Statement of Principles of Good Practice, where institutions were no longer held to this hard stop recruiting date for undergraduates. Enter COVID-19.

According to a New York Times article published on May 1, 2020, not only are students this year considering taking a gap year over taking online courses in the fall, but these competitive colleges/universities are reaching into their waitlist — some for the first time ever — to offer admissions to students. This makes it more challenging for the majority of institutions to plan for their incoming class.

Why does this matter to auxiliary services and how can we help?

As someone who has given numerous tours, talked to tens of thousands of prospective students and their parents, I can tell you that while the academic major and the prospect of a job post-graduation are important, more attention is put on the areas where you have direct control. Parents and students alike usually asked our student tour guides these three questions:

  • What is parking like? Will my student have a hard time finding a place to park?
  • How is the food?
  • Which is the best residence hall? Which residence hall has the best amenities?

The American Marketing Association recently published an article about the overhaul of the college recruiting process. Traditionally we have relied on on-campus events to showcase our residence halls, dining facilities, and parking and transportation options, but COVID is going to put a stop to that for the foreseeable future.

Auxiliary services are in a unique position to collaborate with recruitment teams on your campus as we all work to understand and make our institutions appealing to a new generation of college students. Tap into the resource of your student workers to showcase what you have to offer incoming students.

We’ve all heard the saying, “it takes a village,” but it could never be more true than now. Auxiliary services will be leading the charge in keeping students safe as they return to campus, but don’t doubt that future students and their parents are looking to see how you are responding and how they will be cared for as they visualize themselves on your campus.

NACAS stands ready to support you and your team as you step into what probably feels like your first reopening all over again. We are working tirelessly to provide you with resources and space to share ideas and best practices for our new normal.

Jeff Tice is the Director of Membership at NACAS. Jeff is an advocate for his fellow first-generation college students and providing access to higher education for underrepresented students. He holds an undergraduate degree from West Liberty University and a graduate degree from West Virginia University. He currently resides in Columbus, OH.