Communications Counselors: Changing the structure in the admissions office to adapt to new technological realities

“While market conditions and technology have changed dramatically in 30 years, the structure of the Admissions Office and the entering qualifications and roles of admissions counselors have not kept pace.”

That’s the issue John W. Dysart, president of admissions consulting firm The Dysart Group, hoped to fix by hiring communications counselors at two of his client schools about 18 months ago.

He shared some background on the evolution of the admissions office, as well as his experiences with and findings on the effectiveness of communications counselors during his featured session at UBTech on Tuesday.

This new role works from noon to 9 p.m. solely communicating with students. For the first half of their shift, they text prospective students and update the colleges’ social media pages and websites. The second half of their day is spent making phone calls to prospects.

There are still admissions counselors working in the “typical 1970s” role, but the employees who were moved into the new role are able to accomplish what the old school counselors weren’t able to accomplish.

Restructuring the admissions office to include communications counselors had some promising outcomes at the example schools:

  • 24% increase in phone contact rates
  • 34% increase in applications
  • Social media updates now occur every day
  • Web content updates now occur twice a week
  • 15% increase in folder completions
  • 12% increase in yield from accepted to enrolled

“We as an industry have to rethink the way we staff and structure our offices,” says Dysart. “We have to give up some things to hopefully accomplish some things.”