My 1 Motivator -- The End Goal

After my recent post on pushing through failure, I received some really positive feedback from the higher ed community to continue pushing through—and thanks a ton for that!

I also received a few messages and emails asking what it is that makes me want to push through. Where did the motivation come from? How do you pull yourself out of a failed attempt? To clarify, my startup itself didn’t fail. Has it taken off fully? Nope. But the failure I discussed was a huge setback in my race to launch.

Layout 1So to answer your question regarding what pulled me through my failure directly, Anthony, Jen, Christina, Jordan, and the random email I got that I tried responding directly to but couldn’t for some reason (whoever you are)—my startup is simply a step toward a larger end goal. Looking at it as a step in my career path rather than a career in itself allowed--allows--me to focus on the big picture. Of course, it took me a few months to actually realize this.

What’s my big picture? First impressions. That’s pretty vague, but that’s it.

In a not-so-humble-brag-kind-of-way (mostly because humble brags are actually more of a brag than a regular brag), relationships are my thing. Some people are good at accounting. Some are good at sports. Some can build the hell out of a house. I understand people. Really well. I’m also like a human CRM. I can have one conversation with a person and tell you a year later exactly what we talked about and connect them to a totally unrelated person based on a random commonality. In the end, all relationships start (obviously) with the first impression and the ability to manage that.

For many students, the college fair is that initial person-to-person impression that a prospective student has with an institution. leadpath works to improve a small piece of the puzzle. It’s a step. Other first impressions are ads, campus visits, or a simple phone call with a current student doing an admissions phone-a-thon. My big picture is to consult with institutions to improve first impressions—to make this process easier with technology and training. Each strategy is unique and each institution requires a different approach.  The challenges are incredible and something that I look forward to.

The business competition was a failure, for sure. But it was only a failure in the sense that we didn’t walk away with $50K. We did walk away with really refined pitches. We walked away with over 70 conversations with institutions spanning the education spectrum. We walked away with input from a couple hundred individuals who took the time to help guide the build out. We walked away with a ton of knowledge. And for my big picture, those things are worth significantly more than the initial $50K.

If you get discouraged with a paper, a project, a business venture, or some other personal challenge, it’s easier channel your disappointment into motivation when looking at the bigger picture, the end goal.

Also, I'm a big Stephen Covey fan. His book on The 7 Effective Habits of Highly Effective People was written two years after I was born and I have read it a number of times. It's every bit as true as the day it was published.

UPDATE: Arthur Arzola Scholarship

About a month ago, we launched a fundraising campaign to honor Arthur Arzola’s passion for promoting college access to first-generation and low-income students. We set an initial goal of $500 to provide a need-based book scholarship to an incoming first-generation Humboldt student.

We ended up raising $1,025.

We’ve been in touch with the IA team at Humboldt about the best approach to offer this scholarship and will keep you updated.

While we initially intended on closing the donation option on May 16th, we have since decided to keep it open until we receive direction on the path forward from HSU. This will likely occur in the next day or so. If you would like to contribute before we officially close donations, feel free to click the button below.

Thanks to everyone who participated and we’ll have an update for you as soon as we hear back.

#EMchat and the higher education community have once again blown us away with the level of generosity and passion for creating opportunities for all students, regardless of their background.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!



Our initial post can be found here.

Focus Groups - College Fairs

Oh, Alex is talking about scanner technology again at college fairs. What gives?

Hoping to have that answer for you soon.


ImageIf you are an admissions pro, high school counselor, college fair organizer, or prospective college student, I'd love to talk to you about college fairs and your experiences. If you've used scanner technology, super. If you haven't that's cool, too.

I'll be putting together a few focused (on each population above) online focus groups in January and I'm looking for participants.

Please share my email -- -- with your peers, students, and anyone else you think could have something to add.

Will I supply a pizza and beverages? No, but you're welcome to bring them and show everyone how delicious they are via webcam. Please mute during eating.

Cheers and happy holidays!


The Diminishing Value of Deposits

Adam Castro (@AdamCastroEdu) Well, deposit season is upon us once again. Stage Manager, cue the collective groan. Colleges all over the country are projecting Fall 2013 enrollment based on one, three, even five years of deposit data hoping to see a pre-May 1 uptick that will ultimately result in a strong new student cohort. Give that a second read and tap into your inner Agent Scully: Question everything.

We have accepted the fact that students apply to more schools than ever before, right? In that same vein, we can no longer ignore that the once infinite power of the deposit has been watered down. Some schools have raised, even doubled, the cost of their deposits in recent years with varying results. The bottom line is, the ability to deposit and/or deposit at several institutions, is variable depending on the student population you serve. There is one enrollment factor that is consistent, however: time.

The new deposit is one of an expressed level of commitment through a student’s time. What could be a better indicator of interest than a millennial spending meaningful hours preparing for the start of their college career at a particular institution? To that end, I would argue the following actions are better indicators of student interest than a monetary gesture:

Attending two or more yield-based recruitment events

If a student attends say an Accepted Student Preview Day and a Scholarship Reception, they are highly interested. Get a third visit and you better be helping that student move-in in September. A prepared student may attend 10 Open House events, but they will only attend a yield event for schools they are strongly considering. One, maybe two, schools get multiple yield-based visits.

Taking a placement test

How awful. Imagine giving up your Saturday to sit in a lab for two hours and take a test that has no bearing on your acceptance, but could seal your academic fate as a freshman? I would pay you $150 right now to never have to experience such a thing. Online tests are just as bad. There, I beat you to it.

Registering for classes

Large schools that register their freshmen online en masse, skip the next couple of sentences. Small, niche schools, allow me to holler at you for a second. There is no better indicator for enrollment than registering for classes, right? Well, don’t stop them. Allowing them to register, deposit be damned, opens up a myriad of yield-based, counseling opportunities. You will have every opportunity to find out if they are committed to enrolling at You U. My institution serves a high financial need student body (about 50% of the incoming class has an EFC of $0 - $3,000) and we are often able to present students with a financial aid award that has a $0 out-of-pocket expense after federal, state, and institutional grants, and federal student loans. Does it make sense to ask them to pay out-of-pocket to confirm their intent to enroll? I say no.

The payoff here is in assessment. Broadening the deposit conversation can help you identify problems within your yield strategy. Are your events not up to par? Does your placement test format, or how results are presented, scare the bejesus out of students? Does your initial advising session hook ‘em or push them away?

Deposit to enrolled yield is so 1990’s. Get a handle on your engaged to enrolled yield and it will serve you well in the turbulent years to come.

#EMchat 39: Mobile Tours-Tweet of the Night goes to @markgr

#EMchat 38's discussion was about using technology for mobile tours.   It was extremely informative, and those of us who do not have a mobile tour strategy in place, received many great resources and input on how to begin discussing the value on our campuses.

Tweet of the Night: 

Tonight's TOTN goes to one of #EMchat's favorite mobile/tech gurus, Mark Greenfield (@markgr):


Tweet of the Night Honorable Mentions:

Mike Petroff (@mikepetroff) offered great insight about why mobile tours are effective:



#EMchat's own, Tim Dunning (@timdunning) always has the resource links for us!




Thank you to everyone who participated tonight.  Back by popular demand - our NETWORKING chat is next week.  So grab a beer, login to Twitter and network with other Enrollment Management professionals.  It is a great time!