Strategic Plan

Goal 5: Optimizing Enrollment

Optimizing Enrollment Student and Instructor Image Photo: Jacob Boll '12

Maintaining healthy enrollment across degree programs is fundamental to our success. To support this, we are clarifying our brand story; devising new methods and measures to attract and evaluate qualified students; developing more effective transfer and international student recruitment pipelines; and creating new graduate and non-degree programs that appeal to professionals and other adult learners. As we do this, we remain focused on our commitment to keeping a Columbia education accessible to the broadest range of motivated students who are prepared to succeed here.

This year, Columbia focused on restructuring and building several key operational offices that will help Columbia achieve its enrollment goals. This also included defining the college’s brand and helping prospective students identify what it means to be a student at Columbia. Three major areas were restructured and strengthened this year to move the college closer to its enrollment goals:

1) The Enrollment Management team made key changes in how we identify and communicate with students who are likely to have a strong interest in Columbia. From examining and revising the on-campus experience, including visitation days and tours, to streamlining and improving geographic targeting, the EM team has refined its recruitment approach to ensure that Columbia is sharing the right information at the right time in the right ways. They changed the way they do searches and are making connections via phone, email and face-to-face conversations at key points in students’ decision-making processes.

2) A new Office of the Registrar was established this year with new roles and systems that will help increase retention and on-time graduation. New students want to know they will be supported throughout their whole journey, and the Office of the Registrar will be a major touchstone in ensuring their academic success.

3) The Strategic Marketing and Communications (SMC) team engaged faculty, staff and students in understanding what makes Columbia unique and how to tell our brand story in a compelling and consistent way. In Fall 2017, the college will roll out its new brand. This includes new modes of storytelling; new language, logos and color palettes; strengthened engagement with news and social media; and an invigorating advertising campaign.

In addition to these core initiatives to optimize enrollment, the college has begun building its offerings for adult learners, including Digital Learning and Continuing and Community Education, and strengthening the School of Graduate Studies. More on all of these initiatives include: