As we stand on the cusp of a new admissions cycle, anticipation is a common feeling among enrollment professionals. It’s a time of reflection and forward-thinking, where insights from past experiences chart planning for the future. 

In the fast-paced world of higher education admissions, every cycle presents an opportunity to refine strategies, adapt to changing landscapes, and connect with prospective students meaningfully. 

From bolstering diversity and inclusion initiatives to harnessing the power of technology in outreach efforts, the landscape of opportunities is as multifaceted as it is dynamic.

Navigating these currents requires an approach that balances innovation with tradition, pragmatism with idealism, and strategic vision with operational excellence.

Since every institution has different priorities, let’s delve into key themes to consider when preparing for the upcoming admissions cycle.

Refine Strategies

Before planning for an upcoming cycle, it’s essential to review the previous cycle to inform your next steps effectively. This retrospective review serves as a foundation for refining strategies, optimizing resources, and maximizing success.

In this reflective process, several key questions emerge: What strategies proved successful? What fell short of expectations? What resources are lacking, and what improvements can be made? 

By grappling with these questions as a team, you gain insights into the strengths and weaknesses of past approaches, paving the way for informed decision-making moving forward.

Fostering an inclusive, office-wide conversation facilitates a multifaceted review of past strategies from diverse perspectives. While the execution of strategies ultimately rests with those in positions of leadership, soliciting input from colleagues across the office and departments offers fresh insights and alternative viewpoints. 

This collaboration not only enriches the evaluation process but also fosters a culture of collective ownership and accountability in the future enrollment of the institution.

In essence, by engaging in a comprehensive review of previous cycles, incorporating diverse perspectives, and considering the practical implications of strategies, your admissions team lays the groundwork for informed, strategic decision-making that drives continuous improvement and success.

Adapt to Changing Landscapes

Admission offices are distinctly familiar with navigating the ever-changing tides of higher ed.

Recent upheavals such as the “FAFSA fiasco”, changes to testing policies, and the reversal of Affirmative Action policies have imposed significant strains on institutions and the students they serve.

It’s crucial to keep an eye on developments both within the campus environment and within the broader higher education sector. 

With the unfortunate closures of numerous colleges and universities this year, the importance of staying informed and prepared for potential disruptions cannot be overstated. 

By keeping ahead of industry trends, policy changes, and emerging challenges, you can proactively address issues before they escalate, thereby safeguarding the stability and reputation of the institution.

In understanding the dynamics of the higher education landscape, including evolving student needs, market demands, and financial considerations, you can realign efforts for sustained success and growth.

Showcasing your institution’s strengths, values, and adaptability can instill confidence in students and their families, demonstrating that your institution is well-prepared to support their academic and personal growth amidst an ever-changing educational landscape.

Connect with Students Meaningfully 

Engaging with students is crucial in higher education, and it can take many forms. From improving campus visits to personalizing communication, making meaningful connections should always be a priority.

One great way to enhance these connections is by tapping into your current resources—your students. They offer valuable insights not only into the mindset of today’s youth but also into the demographic of students who choose your school.

Don’t be a stranger to the concept of involving students in the recruitment process! By including them in your planning, you can get a firsthand look at their experiences and preferences. Maybe there’s a new club or a change in dining options that prospective students would love to know about. 

By keeping the lines of communication open with current students, you can stay in-the-know better than any committee meeting could ever provide.

Creating meaningful connections with prospective students will serve as the key to unlocking a campus visit registration, application submission, and ultimately enrollment. What resonates with one student might not have the same impact on another. 

Thanks to technological advancements like Slate’s Ping Data, we have a bird’s-eye view of what might strike a chord with each individual student. Armed with this insight, the floodgates open for genuine and meaningful connections.

Need to Talk Planning Strategy? The Parish Group is at Your Service. 

Taking the above notes into consideration, you may still need additional support planning for the next enrollment cycle. 

Our enrollment experts have served a multitude of institutions: public and private, large and small, HBCU and PWI, undergraduate and graduate, and many more. Our strategies are custom-built for each institution we partner with. 

See how customization can benefit your institution by calling 828.505.3000 or reaching out at

Together, we do BIG things.