I don’t like surprises, and I go to great efforts to avoid them. But some surprises are unavoidable – for example I was surprised to find a significant portion of the school contacts our sales team engages with are admissions directors and counselors. Thankfully this surprise has not caused me to lose any sleep as I become quite cranky when I lose sleep. However, this surprise did spur me to dig deeper into my understanding of an admissions office, and how student health information plays a part in the role of an admissions officer.
While perusing the ISACS website, I found a list of Director of Admission responsibilities. They included:
- To oversee the program of admissions of new students to the school.
- To present the school to prospective students and parents, which includes systematic and efficient handling of applications and communication with candidates and their parents; interviews with candidates and their parents; arrangements for admissions testing; securing of necessary student credentials; and communicating final decisions to the appropriate individuals.
- To oversee the admission office, creation of the admissions budget, and appropriate admissions and marketing materials, mailings and publications.
- To organize and administer, with the head of school, the Financial Aid Committee, the program for scholarships and financial aid.
- To evaluate continually and redesign where appropriate all aspects of the admissions and marketing program with the goal of maintaining a capacity enrollment of qualified students and a wait-list of qualified applicants which consist of at least 10% of the maximum class size for each grade.
- To manage the re-enrollment of current students for the succeeding year.
- To oversee the network of parents, former parents and alumni to assist in the admissions program.
- To keep relevant statistics on all aspects of the admission and re-enrollment program.
- To represent the school at various gatherings and conferences.
- To perform other duties as assigned by the head of school.
- To support the school and its leadership.
And that’s when I had to judge myself a little (a lot) for not considering that the reason admissions offices care about health information is in the title itself – admissions. It’s fairly important that admitted students supply schools with health information and conditions. That was sarcasm, it’s actually very important that schools have those details on file. Any department dealing with the enrollment and re-enrollment of students each year will have to address student health information. They’ll have to communicate to parents what is required, how to submit it, and the status of that submission before the student is allowed admission to the school.
Those three items – communication, submission, and status updates – make up a process that may seem simple, but can become something of a bear to handle, and not one of those cute baby Panda Bears that sneezes and causes the world to stop and “awww.” When that process becomes more of an angry Polar Bear fighting for territory and the last seal in sight, the issues impact the admissions office and then spread to the parent experience as well. As we all know, once parents begin talking to one another, and to prospective students’ parents, word spreads quickly. May I suggest, it spreads like wildfire?
The goal for any school is for processes to go as smoothly as possible, so that when word does spread, it reflects well on the school. Thus, the conversations we frequently have with admissions officers about streamlining student health information processes, and easing the burden on all involved, should come as no surprise to me.
And hopefully by now, my over-use of nature metaphors comes as no surprise to you. Honestly though, they make me happier than a pig in mud.