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Darren Francis,
University College of the Fraser Valley

Editor's Note:  Darren is an August 2005 recipient of the Kansas State University / NACADA Academic Advising Graduate Certificate.

Darren Francis.jpgWith competition for students at an all-time high, enrollment management is a prominent area within post-secondary education. As a result of this competition, most individuals connected with the academy are aware of the term enrollment management. Although familiar with the term, many are confused by its use because its meaning varies both within and across campuses. For example, a marketing director may view enrollment management as the development of student contacts for continued growth, but a registrar may see it as the management of applications and registrations. John Maguire, a pioneer in enrollment management research, feels that it is best defined as 'bringing together often disparate functions having to do with recruiting, funding, tracking, retaining, and replacing students as they move toward, within, and away from university' (1976; as cited in Henderson, 2001, p.7). With careful consideration of Maguire's definition it becomes clear that academic advisors are essential in the enrollment management process because we see students at all stages of their post-secondary careers.

Academic advisors play an important role in the development of students, but it is often assumed that our influence takes place primarily once the student has matriculated. As the academy continues to evolve, it is possible that we will 'touch' students at many points during their academic career. For example, advisors at many institutions are responsible for recruiting at high schools and tradeshows; as a result, they contact students as early as Grade 10 and 11 and therefore influence students' final post-secondary decisions. The comprehensive nature of our interactions with students makes academic advisors uniquely skilled and well suited for contributing to enrollment management efforts. For example, in a single day an advisor can assist a potential student as she learns more about the institution (recruiting) and its scholarship and loan options (funding), connect with a student who is close to graduating (tracking), assist an at-risk student as he develops a plan for long-term academic success (retention), and help a transfer student understand her transfer credit evaluation and choose courses for the upcoming semester (replacement). In working with students at all stages of their post-secondary career, advisors gain a better understanding of what students need and want. The result is that academic advisors are sought after by those coordinating institutional enrollment management efforts.

As the field of enrollment management continues to develop, advisors will be asked to assume leadership roles because of our unique background of student involvement and post-secondary administration. It is our knowledge of both areas that give us the ability to affect change throughout the institution. The result will be the success of our students and the long-term viability of the institution.

Darren Francis
University College of the Fraser Valley
Abbotsford, BC Canada
[email protected]


Henderson, Stanley E.(2001). On the Brink of a Profession. In Jim Black (Eds.), S trategic Enrollment Management Revolution (pp. 3-36). Washington, DC: American Associate of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

Cite this article using APA style as: Francis, D. (2006, December). Advisors' role in enrollment management. Academic Advising Today, 29(4). Retrieved from [insert url here]


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Academic Advising Today, a NACADA member benefit, is published four times annually by NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. NACADA holds exclusive copyright for all Academic Advising Today articles and features. For complete copyright and fair use information, including terms for reproducing material and permissions requests, see Publication Guidelines.