Admissions, Private Schools and Roller Coasters

Kings IslandI love roller coasters and so do my boys.

Since they were tall enough, my boys and I have been riding the roller coasters in Florida at Disney, Universal, Sea World and Busch Gardens.

However, our favorite park for roller coasters is Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. We have been there several times in the past few years.

This summer we decided to explore a different park – King’s Island in Cincinnati, OH. I have been there before but it was over 30 years ago!

In order to maximize our roller coaster riding experience we always buy the fast lane pass. This allows us to get to the front of the line as many times as we want for the entire day so that we can ride over and over again.

In late June, we spent one full day riding the coasters at King’s Island. We rode The Beast 10 times, Diamondback 10 times, and Banshee 5 times. We also rode their other coasters but these were our favorites. The next park my boys and I want to experience is Six Flags Over Magic Mountain in CA.

I love the adrenaline rush that a roller coaster gives me. It is the heart-pounding, stomach-churning, thrill and rush of this over-the-top experience that pushes me to keep riding (besides the fact that I want to keep up with my boys).

My love for riding rollercoasters is similar to my passion for enrollment.

I often compare admissions and marketing at a private school to riding a roller coaster. It is the rush of the new family inquiring, touring campus and enrolling that keeps me going. I could ride this enrollment coaster all the time, even with its up’s and down’s, and have been on this ride for over 25 years now.

Ever since my early days as Director of Enrollment Management at Cornerstone University, I have been driven by enrollment. In 1994, our enrollment at this small liberal arts university was 710 students. With new leadership and a vision for growth, we set a strategy in place to aggressively grow the enrollment. Seven years later, the enrollment at the university had doubled.

I would work tirelessly with my staff on the enrollment coaster ride driving towards the day when the new students arrived. This is quite an adrenaline rush in and of itself on opening day and one that I always looked forward to.

For me, I am wired in such a way, that I can keep riding this same roller coaster over and over again.

In some ways, I think admissions, enrollment, and marketing directors should be wired in this same way. There must be something about the drive and push to enroll another student and family that will get you up in the morning to ride again. There must be something about setting an enrollment goal and then working tirelessly to exceed it that you enjoy the rush of the ride along the way.

In fact, I would be so bold to say that if you aren’t driven by enrollment numbers, recruiting families and achieving results, then you are probably in the wrong field. If the challenge of growing your school’s enrollment and getting on the same roller coaster over and over again doesn’t drive you, then it maybe time for a new job.

Working in admissions, marketing and enrollment management is like riding a roller coaster over and over again. While the ride may have its up and downs, the reward is great through the influence and impact of your job on the lives of young students that enroll at your school.

With the start of another school year upon us, it’s time to get on the roller coaster again and ride for another year.

Are you up for another ride this year?

Do you have the drive to achieve your school’s enrollment goals?