Enrollment management is the #1 issue facing independent schools, and admission directors are the front line in dealing with this challenging and complex issue. In an effort to support our members, The Enrollment Management Association convened an Enrollment Management Think Tank to investigate pressing issues, to provide information to the larger independent school community, and to present The Enrollment Management Association’s board of directors with summary thinking and a set of recommendations. Chaired by two respected independent school admission professionals— Jim Ventre, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid, Phillips Academy (MA), and Jill Lee, Director of Admission and Tuition Assistance, Castilleja School (CA)—the group will work to:
• Identify a set of research questions about enrollment management
• Scan the environment of independent schools, higher education, and business/industry for current practices and innovations in recruitment, selection, and retention
• Talk to top researchers and practitioners in the field
• Publish findings and make recommendations to The Enrollment Management Association board of directors
The EMTT will offer recommendations to our board of directors no later than fall 2017, defining our critical role in developing content, services, and trainings for our admission community.
• Co-Chair: Jill Lee, Director of Admission and Tuition Assistance, Castilleja School (CA)
• Co-Chair: Jim Ventre, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid, Phillips Academy (MA)
• Kelly Monaco, Director of Admission, Lower School, Iolani School (HI)
• Suzanne Walker Buck, Rector, Chatham Hall School (VA)
• Douglas Leek, Director of Admissions and Enrollment Management, The Northwest School (WA)
The Enrollment Management Association's Think Tank on the Future of Assessment was established to create a conversation about 21st century admission and the needs of enrollment managers during their selection process. Having studied current research and interviewing numerous experts in the field of noncognitive assessment, they produced two seminal reports and were instrumental in the creation of the Character Skills Snapshot and the Character Skills Toolkit. A blog series researched and written by think tank member Jonathan E. Martin also explored a variety of viewpoints on this topic.
Important questions the committee pondered in order to educate themselves and our community about new trends affecting independent school admission:
• How do we better understand our students’ many kinds of minds, and look for new ways standardized testing can reveal more about them?
• How should we support the professionalism and consistency of the admission process and consider carefully what will serve independent schools 10-20 years from now so we can better lead the profession forward?
• How do we pull together the best available thinking on broadening admission assessments and share that thinking widely?
• How might we test for important character attributes in the admission process?
The Enrollment Management Association established an Early Childhood Assessment Working Group to understand best practices in assessment for young children and to make recommendations for improved practices within the independent school world. In 2012, The Enrollment Management Association worked with researcher Chris Bigenho (Greenhills Schools, TX) to gather early childhood admission assessment methods used by our members for children in PK-2nd grade. We were surprised to discover IQ tests being used for admission purposes and given to children as young as three, and also learned that while group play assessment weighed heavily in admission decisions, each school we studied designed its own process.
With this focused working group, we seek to educate our members about new thinking and consider ways in which our community can improve its own practice in understanding young children and their development. The working group is led by Nancy Hayes, Director of Enrollment Management and Financial Aid at New Canaan Country School (CT), and supported by the association's Pedro Martello and Robyn Lewis.