Recruitment In Today’s Data-Driven, Evolving Higher Education Landscape

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By Jon Boeckenstedt
Vice Provost of Enrollment Management at Oregon State University in Corvallis



It has been said that all the world is simply a struggle between the “Haves” and “Have Nots.” How you view admissions and recruitment at your university probably depends a lot on which type of university you work at, whether you’re at a public, private, or for-profit institution, and—especially—what the mission of your institution looks like. Are you at one of the private “Haves” or perhaps one of the public “Have Nots?” Are your founding and mission based on access for a wide swath of the population, or is your purpose designed to serve the elite students—and only the elite students—who have risen to the top of the pyramid of academic achievement we sometimes call “merit?” It makes a big difference.

In my first post in this series, I wrote about marketing, and how all higher-education institutions do it to some degree. I also mentioned that the enrollment management and/or admissions/financial aid departments are leading the charge when it comes to the four components of marketing (price, product, place, and promotion). And in this post, we’ll get down to “brass tacks,” where we actually apply those concepts as we attempt to enroll a class in the next term that is of the appropriate size, quality, diversity, and ability to pay what the college expects in order to keep operations running.

Finally, amid all the uncertainty in how we do this, I’ll offer the only thing I can think of that is absolutely, positively true for all colleges and universities of all types in America.

It's important to note that admissions and recruiting, while often conflated into one idea, are really separate entities, even though many (including myself) often mention them together. This post will focus on the recruiting part; the next post in this series will talk about admissions.

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