It’s September first—cue the music...What do you hear?
Maybe: “September,” by Earth, Wind and Fire?
Or: “September Morn,” by Neil Diamond
This year, it’s more likely: “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” by Green Day
Regardless of your preferred musical genre, there’s probably a tune that sums up that feeling of putting the summer behind to focus on building a prosperous future for you, your family, your school, and its students. Over the past six weeks, I have taken the time to connect with enrollment managers at more than 40 campuses, and I thought I would share a few common themes and positive solutions so you know you are not alone.
More than half of those I spoke with discussed some level of mental paralysis in their division or within their campus. COVID’s forced shift to working remotely since March (which still continues for many of you throughout the nation) has resulted in a state where long-term strategic planning has fallen in priorities. Senior leaders on campus were forced to work on the urgent as opposed to the important for too long, and now everyone’s having a hard time getting back on track. Let’s face it, it’s easy to procrastinate the tough decisions.
I'm equally excited to report that, in spite of all the challenges over the last several months, the vast majority of you remain fiercely proud of your campus, your colleagues, and your students. So many of you defend your campus’s decision to open or close as an effort to balance safety with the importance of your school’s role in fostering a productive future for our world.
You all also have a wide range of stories, from herculean efforts to deliver exciting virtual visits, to assisting families impacted by COVID-19. Those examples are incredibly relevant to our world of enrollment, and I know there are a multitude more that touch almost every corner of campus. It makes me wonder why more of these stories are not in the media each week.
I'm sure you have a cool “campus story” to shout about. Guess what? It’s worth it and it will make you feel great. So use the hashtag #ProudCampusMoment and get the word out on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
This one seems unavoidable. Beyond COVID-19, there is so much happening in the world now, and it has us all on edge. But I like to keep these blog posts directly related to our industry. This is normally a celebratory time in our cycle with classes starting, admissions recruitment travel kicking off, national conferences for rekindling professional relationships, and so much more. However, like most of 2020, this September is quite different and many of us are feeling anxious as a result. It's important for you to know that this is a very common feeling among your colleagues, and I believe your strength and professionalism will carry you through.
In my next blog, I will offer you a number of supporting points to illustrate that private colleges and universities throughout the nation are actually better positioned to flourish now than they were prior to COVID-19. Stay tuned and, until then, check out the Top 20 Songs About September.