Uncovering campuswide opportunities with an outside perspective

Linda HoopesVice President, University PartnershipsMarch 16, 2018

Years ago, when I led enrollment at a mid-size private institution in the Midwest, a colleague wisely quoted Albert Einstein: If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got. This comment came as the university made plans to conduct an enrollment opportunities analysis with Ruffalo Noel Levitz to help us reach our goals.

The pending analysis was of interest not because the university was facing enrollment challenges at the time, and not because it yet faced the extremely competitive environment in which colleges and universities find themselves today. Instead, senior leaders were drawn to the assessment because they wanted to ensure that the most effective strategies were in place to move the institution forward. Added to this was a critical impetus to be distinctly proactive if demographic trends held true to predictions.

My colleagues and I looked forward to having an expert on campus to confidently unearth opportunities to recruit even more students who could be retained and graduate. The experience was eye-opening! Within a day and a half, the senior RNL leader offered several significant recommendations that we could implement easily—and immediately. We were also provided with well-grounded suggestions for longer-term growth.

After implementing several of the recommendations, the university saw significant improvements in both enrollment and student retention, as well as a more unified faculty and staff better positioned to meet well-communicated goals.

Four benefits to getting an outside perspective on your campuswide opportunities

Now seated on the other side of the desk, as I have been with Ruffalo Noel Levitz for nearly a decade, I continue to see the benefits of campuswide opportunities analysis, albeit through a slightly different lens.

Objectivity: It’s often said that one can’t see the forest for the trees. All too frequently, campus leaders are too busy with day-to-day activities to consider overall strategy. A fresh set of eyes is what’s needed most.

Experience: With a broad base of knowledge, RNL senior leaders have virtually seen it all. Each has a career history of more than 500 campus evaluations; a breadth of experience that can’t be rivaled.

Focus: The primary goal of this opportunity analysis is just that–to find unseen prospects for success.  Sometimes these opportunities are hidden gems; other times, they may have been discussed previously.

Proactivity: Being preemptive. Looking ahead. Planning for tomorrow. Too often, critical issues are pushed aside when times are good. But as John F. Kennedy warned, The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining. In this highly challenging and competitive environment, colleges and universities can never be too prepared for the changing tides.

See the benefit of bringing an outside perspective to your campus

My colleagues at RNL have traveled to campuses of every size, type, location, and mission to bring this valuable outside perspective. They cover a whole range of topics: marketing, recruitment, retention, financial aid, strategic enrollment planning, and many other key issues related to enrollment and student success.

I invite you to learn more about our campuswide opportunity analysis, and to have the benefit that I and my campus colleagues had when we got a fresh perspective on our challenges and used what we learned to achieve historic results. Find out more at RuffaloNL.com, and if you have any questions, please feel free to email me directly.

Request an RNL Campus Opportunity Analysis

About the Author

Linda Hoopes

Linda Hoopes joined Ruffalo Noel Levitz in 2010 as a consultant before transitioning to her current role as Vice President, University Partnerships. Dr. Hoopes assists the team of seasoned experts who conduct the RNL Campus Opportunity...

Read more about Linda's experience and expertise

Reach Linda by e-mail at Linda.Hoopes@RuffaloNL.com.

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