Enrollment Is Declining. Here's Why.

Higher education institutions are steadily losing their value to American society due to their unwillingness to evolve and grow in a way that newer generations see the benefits of attending.

Don't believe it? More than two-thirds of private colleges and over 50% of public colleges failed to meet their enrollment or net tuition revenue targets for 2016 according to the Chronicle.

If high school graduates and individuals in the workforce aren't enrolling in college, what else could they be doing?

In 2015 alone, 39 states instituted 125 new laws, policies or regulations relating to Career and Technical Education programs.

In 2013, the Startup Activity Index, defined as the percentage of adults transitioning into entrepreneurship at a given point in time, was at its lowest point in the last twenty years. However, after 2013, it has gone up three years in a row.

This points to a diversion from the expectation that students should graduate high school, go to college, and then get a job.

My opinion? We haven't learned how to tap into purpose for students.

According to a recent survey conducted by Gallup, “Most workers, many of whom are

millennials...want their work to have meaning and purpose. They want to learn and develop. They want their job to fit their life.”

Now we are working towards marketing the importance of the college experience to Generation Z, and need to make changes fast before they follow the footsteps of the Millennial generation.

The benefits of purpose are numerous, you can read about them here, but the most important one for your institution is the strong relationship between purpose and engagement.

Thankfully, there are a few ways to prove that your university not only cares about each student's purpose but will help develop it.

1. Highlight Student Groups

Most universities focus heavy on curriculum with the assumption that parents will be the major decision makers. However, students are increasingly taking on the responsibility to fund their college careers and need to see how they can develop and gain experience that will be marketable when they enter the workplace.

Use student testimonials and success stories instead of the exhaustive list that most students won't even read.

2. Provide Workshops for Students Who Feel Lost

Determination by definition is a firmness of purpose. When we don't know why we are doing something, we are less inclined to stick with it. Workshops like my Goal Mapping Program help students become more engaged and connected to what is happening inside of the classroom by helping students see meaning in their coursework.

3. Train Staff and Faculty to Guide Students Instead of Driving Them

In small universities, most advisers are professors who most likely are not excited about having to advise students. Let's be honest, most professors don't even want to teach. Provide your advising staff and professors with the tools to guide students according to their own personal desires. This will help to build strong student-faculty relationships and make the advising process less painful.

I can provide that training, as an extension of the Goal Mapping program provided to students, in addition to customized programs. Contact me today to get the engagement and enrollment results you want to see Spring 2019 and Fall 2020.

Gabriella Payne builds teams and communities through inspiration and strategic confidence development. She works with universities, athletic groups, and corporations to help students and recent graduates transform their mental thought patterns by teaching new, healthier habits. She is also an advocate for healthy relationships and teaches a series called "See It Coming".

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