Book by Thomas Crady & James Sumner
Review By Stephen Neer
Director, Undergraduate Academic Advising Center
National-Louis University

As new challenges grow in college and university admissions and financial aid, those working in the field of academic advising should consider how these changes impact the students with whom they work.  In Key Issues in New Student Enrollment, Crady and Sumner provide a detailed look at the challenges that many institutions face in recruiting new students. 

While the primary audience for this publication is admissions and financial aid administrators, those in academic advising can benefit from this book through an enhanced understanding of how factors, such as socioeconomic status, standardized tests, and changes in how financial aid is distributed, affect students. This publication is divided into several chapters, each focusing on a different challenge within new student enrollment. An overriding theme of the book is that trends that grew in the last few decades have led to a variety of challenges today. These challenges include such things as the growth of merit based financial aid over need based aid, the increased emphasis on standardized tests, and how colleges have refined recruitment to effectively attract students.  But, perhaps the most alarming outcome of these strategies, has been a growing gap of who attends college based upon socioeconomic status, a result that “could have dire consequences for the social and economic health of the nation” (p. 5). With these changes, colleges move away from becoming a resource for social mobility and many institutions, particularly the elite, are increasingly becoming “bastions of privilege” (p. 5). 

The strength of this text lies in the ability of the authors to explain, in understandable terms, how different trends in new student enrollment have impacted today’s student body. Each chapter also provides examples of possible solutions to these problems and specific programs at the institutional, community, and state levels which are having success in promoting college opportunity to all. These present the reader with an understanding of potential changes for the future, and even provide ideas that could be incorporated on their campus. From the development of strategies to incorporate a test-optional admissions process to new trends in using socioeconomic factors in admissions decisions, the book provides examples for how institutions can widen their scope in determining who they admit.

Even though academic advisors are not mentioned specifically in this book, they will likely find this publication helpful in understanding who their students are and will find this publication a useful reference in understanding the current state of higher education.

Key Issues in New Student Enrollment (New Directions for Student Services #118). (2007). Book by Thomas Crady & James Sumner (Eds.). Review By Stephen Neer. Jossey-Bass. 88 pp., $29.00. ISBN # 978-0-470-22620-9
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