Thoughts from the 2017 Ruffalo Noel Levitz National Conference

As the summer starts to wind down (what, already?!), the education conference season starts to pick up.  A few weeks ago, CampusESP exhibited at the Ruffalo Noel Levitz National Conference on Student Recruitment, Marketing, and Retention in Denver.

This year we partnered with RNL and NAIA on a research report: High School Counselors and Their Role in College Planning.  So this was a great opportunity not only to talk with customers and prospects, but also to re-connect with many of our colleagues and partners.

My takeaways from the conference:

 

Increased focus on “strategic” enrollment management

Sure, “strategic” is just a word, but it recognizes the value schools find in planning for enrollment rather than just reacting to trends.  Most schools acknowledged that recruiting students is more competitive than ever.  How do you differentiate your institution?  How do you show value for ever-increasing tuition? 

Many people asked about the ability to leverage parent and family involvement for pre-enrollment activities.  Colleges are moving from “to the parents of…” to “parents as partners”.  There is increasing recognition of the influence that families have during the admissions process.

 

Increased focus on outcomes

RNL recently announced their acquisition of Purple Briefcase to help with career services.  It’s an all-in-one platform that I believe meets the new expectations that schools have with technology.  Sure, it provides a technology platform for students and alumni to connect with jobs and internships, but it also provides content and forums to support students along their journey. 

We’ve taken a similar approach with CampusESP.  Involving families in student success takes more than just technology.  It takes real-time advice and support to help parents become better advisors for their students.  73% of parents say that CampusESP helps them better advise and support their students, so we feel like we’re heading in the right direction!

 

From acquisition to ecosystem

The RNL National Conference is always a valuable event because of the people involved; decision makers in recruiting, retention and giving.  However, while last year a lot of the discussion was around the Ruffalo Cody and Noel Levitz merger, this year was more focused on the strength of their ecosystem.  That ecosystem was on full display in the exhibit hall, and we saw many more campus leaders looking for creative ways to engage with their constituents. 

There’s been a lot of terrific feedback on CampusESP following the show.  Even a few weeks after the conference, I’m still playing catch up.  We’re excited about the conversations we had with folks about the potential of strategic parent engagement.  However, if we missed you during the show (or if you weren’t able to make the trip), please feel free to reach out to us with any questions!