SEM Readiness Review
Preparing for a Strategic Enrollment Management Readiness Review
As increasing numbers of colleges and universities confront declining or stagnant enrollments, more institutions are seeking to take a strategic approach to long-term enrollment planning. This approach, known as Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM), includes not only reaching enrollment targets, but ensuring that those targets align with the institution’s mission, vision and sustainable vitality.
The first step in transitioning toward a more strategic enrollment approach is to assess your institution’s SEM-readiness. AACRAO Consulting’s SEM Readiness Review helps you meet this critical first milestone, by providing institutional leadership with a thorough report on strategy, policy and practice around long-term enrollment planning.
During the SEM Readiness Review process, we’ll take close look at your departments, staff, processes and practices that currently support student enrollment and student success. Leveraging our expertise in identifying and studying leading enrollment practices across institutions of all sizes, types and settings, we’ll compare your enrollment activities to see where they stand. And how to make them better.
What to Expect
AACRAO Consulting’s SEM Readiness Review begins with a thorough audit of your institutional mission and vision, website, enrollment trends, student satisfaction data, policy and procedures documentation, and other information you already have on hand. No extensive report creation or data collection is required. This up-front information gathering allows us to learn as much as we can about your institution and its unique characteristics prior to the on-site portion of the engagement, so that we can maximize our time on campus.
Once we have gathered and assessed your information, we schedule an on-site consultation typically lasting between two and four days, depending on the scope of work and requirements. During our on-site visits, we complete individual and small-group interviews with front-line staff, mid-level administrators, faculty, directors, campus leaders and/or students. The specific interview itinerary is determined once we’ve identified your most pressing needs, with the majority of time spent speaking to those staff members and leadership who can speak to your most critical issues.
At the end of the on-site visit, we provide initial observations and recommendations to verify key take-aways from the interviews, and ensure our perspectives align with your expectations. Following the visit, we provide you with a written report, customized to reflect your unique culture, opportunities and challenges. Your report includes an executive summary and actionable recommendations specific to your campus. We also include recommended resources to build your institution’s knowledge and skills.
If organizational changes are recommended as part of our report, we will include a suggested organizational chart along with high-level job responsibilities to deploy your staff effectively. In most cases, your report arrives within weeks of the site visit, helping you build momentum as you enact changes to your practices.
Deliverables and Outcomes
Your SEM Readiness Review equips you with a broad overview of your institution’s formal and informal enrollment structures while providing expert, unbiased observations and recommendations on the effectiveness of key enrollment and academic service units. Generally, the key areas we focus on during the review include:
- Level of SEM Planning currently in place at the institution
- The organizational alignment of enrollment services/management offices to support enrollment outcomes
- Campus-wide committees, task teams or councils for enrollment, their scope, agenda and effectiveness
- Recruitment and enrollment marketing
- Financial aid/scholarships
- Registrar (registration and records)
- Academic advising
- Course scheduling
- Data collection and analysis to support enrollment decision-making
Every consultation is customized to address the unique challenges of the college or university. Often, we are asked to look more closely at one or two areas that struggle to achieve their outcomes. We balance our review and time-on-task to address those specific concerns while providing a comprehensive assessment of the institution’s overall SEM capacity.
Who Benefits from a SEM Readiness Review?
The SEM Readiness Review is ideal for institutions that may be experiencing enrollment declines or in other ways not meeting their enrollment objectives. The review is commonly requested prior to a SEM Plan Development consultation to determine the institution’s readiness for mapping out and implementing long-range enrollment outcomes. AACRAO Consulting completes SEM Readiness Reviews for the following:
- Institutions starting a SEM Planning project
- Institutions with operational areas of enrollment that are not meeting expected outcomes
- Institutions with questions about appropriate organizational structures, reporting lines or cross-functional collaboration across enrollment units
Find out if your institution is ready to develop and implement a more strategic approach to reaching enrollment goals.