Why The Erdmann Institute?
The Erdmann Institute for Enrollment Leadership was created to fill a noticeable void in professional development opportunities for mid-career and director level independent school enrollment managers. Inspired by the work of David Erdmann, former Dean of Admission and Enrollment at Rollins College and long-time friend to independent schools, The Erdmann Institute is designed with the goal of advancing knowledge, skill, leadership, and community among admission professionals. Working closely with The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) and The Enrollment Management Association, The Erdmann Institute strives to be at the forefront of the field of independent school admission while maintaining an engaging and collaborative environment for school professionals from across the United States and Canada.
The program, which spans four days, combines interactive presentations and small group work with ample opportunities for thoughtful conversations and collaboration.
The Erdmann Institute features at least one representative from The Enrollment Management Association and TABS. Both organizations have also agreed to share admission relevant research at the Erdmann Institute each year, giving attendees exclusive access to industry insights well before the general public. Guest presenters, which vary each year, may include current heads of school, deans of enrollment from higher education, experts in independent school financial aid, or one of a myriad of other professionals that have much to add to the enrollment conversation.
CLICK HERE for the 2016 Schedule
Attendee Outcomes & Topics Covered
Much has changed in the field of independent school admission over the past 20 years. In addition to admitting mission appropriate students, admission offices need to have a deeper understanding in several areas: the role of internal and external marketing as a means of increasing the school's visibility in the market, managing personnel amid the staffing increases of admission offices, and the school's financial framework in regard to tuition revenue requirements and financial aid oversight.
Participants of The Erdmann Institute walk away with a renewed energy and excitement for the upcoming admission cycle. Each year, the topics covered vary slightly depending on the demands of the independent school enrollment management profession. Major themes include:
Traditional vs. Strategic - What does it mean to think strategically? The traditional admission funnel is no longer a viable model. The Erdmann Institute helps schools evaluate their inquiry to enrollment sequence to ensure they get the most out of the human and monetary resources at their school. Every office and every school is different, and it is crucial to develop a tailored approach to guiding families through the inquiry to enrollment process that best suits the context of each institution.
Value Proposition - More and more families are asking tough questions about the value of investing in an independent school education, and they need to know what differentiates your institution from your competitor schools as well as other educational options.
Decision Drivers - Understanding the mindset of the consumer cannot be overemphasized. What are the most important decision drivers prospective families use in determining school choice? It is now a buyer's market - prospective families have more choices than ever before - and consumers are looking at all the traditional metrics (i.e. college placement, quality of teaching/programs, alumni success and facilities) as well as a school's intangible qualities (i.e. development of meaningful relationships with peers, encouragement of healthy risk taking in and the benefit of living in a diverse community). Participants will explore how these things might play a role in meeting your enrollment goals.
The Strategy of Financial Aid - Attendees will discuss how financial aid is currently being used (Access vs. Affordability), as well as how merit aid can be used as a strategic tool in enrolling mission-appropriate students. Also, what is a net-tuition revenue model and how can it work at your school (capping your financial aid budget could mean a lower enrollment and a loss of revenue)?
Leadership and Management - Responsibilities and expectations of a director of admission have increased over the past 15 to 20 years. How do you empower the people who work around you? How do you keep your staff engaged and happy? Erdmann participants will explore ways to get the most out of their admission staff by developing strategies to deal with personnel issues, examining the purpose and value of staff retreats, understanding the emotions of an assistant or associate director of admission, considering the approaches to managing support staff and taking a Leadership Practices Inventory (Kouzes and Posner).
International Recruitment - The Erdmann Institute explores the advantages and challenges of international student recruitment. While international markets have taken on a greater role at independent schools, it is important to strategically balance the advantages of an increased international population with not overstating this same aspect of your school's population.
Marketing - Exploration of external and internal strategies covers everything from the use of print vs. web-based marketing collateral to the value of human resources (current families, board members, alumni, faculty) and word of mouth publicity. Attendees will discuss how to make on-campus (interview and tours, open houses, revisit days, etc.) and off-campus (admission receptions, etc.) events more effective and how to maximize the benefits of domestic and international admission travel.
Looking Ahead - What does the future look like? Participants will be asked to consider current trends on the local, national and global level that impact independent school enrollment, such as changes in demographics, the economy (income increases vs. tuition increases) and the growth of alternative educational options for students (charter schools, online, homeschooling, etc.).