It’s that time in Admissions– our travel season is slowly winding down and it’s time to hit the ground running in terms of converting our inquiries to campus visits and applications. However, before the travel season escapes us, I have a few thoughts to share from personal experiences this fall.
The truth is, we are all fishing in the same pond when it comes to domestic recruiting and unfortunately, the fish in this pond seem to be slowly diminishing. The ramifications of this inevitable phenomenon can be daunting at first glance, but when you peel away the layers, it is rather exciting. As we try to uncover new markets and expand upon our travel plans, “thinking outside the box” becomes more critical than ever.
Thinking outside the box for our admission season was premised upon the idea of collaborative travel. Many Admission offices, for years, have adopted this paradigm for international travel, but it is my belief that it is now time to carry this over to the domestic realm.
For example, last week Oldfields School (MD) and The White Mountain School (NH) collaborated on a week-long trip to California. No, we didn’t plan our travel around a boarding school fair. In fact, we deliberately and intentionally stayed away from them. Why? Because, and this might be music to many ears, they are simply not yielding the results they once did. (For more insight on this idea, see Ann Miller’s, DOA at Madeira School, recent AISAP blog: http://www.aisap.org/are-school-fairs-fair/ )
Instead, we rolled the dice and created an extensive itinerary based on visits to feeder schools, educational consultants, prospective students, and current families. The question now becomes: was it successful? Did it/will it yield results?
Collaborating with the right school is inevitably advantageous:
Inevitably, collaborating on travel allows you to split the cost of the trip. This is especially advantageous for schools with limited travel budgets. For Oldfields and The White Mountain School, proposing a week-long trip to California could be financially-daunting at first glance, however, when you are able to cut the cost in half, it makes it much more realistic.
2. Non-monetary resources
When collaborating with schools on domestic travel, you double your resources. When OS and WMS began planning this trip, we quickly watched our contacts double. Perhaps there are particular educational consultants and feeder schools whom have, in the past, appealed to your collaborator’s school. Sharing contacts allows for people, who might not in the past, become exposed to your school.
Traveling can be emotionally and physically draining. When you collaborate on travel, you also split the inevitable associated duties. This really comes into effect when you are faced with copious long-distance drives to and from each meeting.
If you have ever planned a trip you know how tedious it can become. On top of your inherent office responsibilities it can be difficult to find time to make appointments. With two people on board, and the help of Google docs, this task becomes much less time consuming.
As for a tangible and measurable return on our investment, time will only tell. We are confident, however, that this new and innovative way of approaching domestic travel will pay huge dividends in years to come. Stay tuned for our respective results.