It’s conference season. Over the past couple of months, we’ve held three Ideastorms (two private, one public) and presented at an Academic Impressions conference all about Communication Flow Planning. And now we are gearing up for our “Best Ideas” presentation at ACT’s Enrollment Planners Conference, our September Ideastorm at Marian University, and NACAC. It’s a marvelously busy and productive time.


Elon Ideastorm & HA ThirtyOne

Elon Ideastormers 2014!
BACK ROW (l-to-r): Lauren Womack, Laine Williams, Monica Leach, Lise Kellar, Bryan Terry, Kacy McAdoo, Greg Zaiser, Ginger Hansen, Joel Pattison, William Greene, Sharon Pomranky , Mike Hovland, Kimberly Newton-Burgess, Dawn Davis, Solomon Enos
MIDDLE ROW (l-to-r): Camlin Cothran, Cindy Barr, Lisa Keegan, Katie Williamsen, Maggie Greene, Beth Warrick, Kate Coleman, Sandy Pearman, Rachel Hansen, Susan Klopman
FRONT ROW (l-to-r): Karyn Adams, Mike Wesner


In addition to you and your team attending conferences and professional development events, you may be having your annual planning session soon. Who knows, you may be reading this from your planning session. If so, please make sure that you take time to discuss next year’s communications plan and your school’s Student Search campaigns.


Here’s one good reason why — for many admissions and enrollment offices, Student Search represents the largest outside expenditure. Should it? It’s an important question to ask, but unfortunately, many enrollment operations are afraid to question their Student Search approach, at least in a deep and meaningful way, because questioning the approach very quickly gets to tough answers. And how does Student Search fit into the overall communications flow and the overall recruitment strategy? What is your overall recruitment strategy? Is everyone on board? Does your team know what kind of incredible impact they can make?

Depending on the culture of your school and your division, planning sessions can be a dreaded exercise or a much-looked-forward-to turbo boost and recalibration. We recently led a planning session at Lees-McRae College, in bucolic Banner Elk, North Carolina. Yes, we had hard-question planning time. But we also enjoyed some kayaking and mountain biking. It was the blend of the day that made it so successful. It was also because it was an authentic blend to the school. Sounding familiar?


Lees-McRae & HA ThirtyOne Ideastorm 2014

Lees-McRae Ideastorm 2014
BACK ROW: Mike’s kayak
FRONT ROW: (l-to-r): Mike Wesner, Andrew Huggins, Ginger Hansen, Candace Silver


We left the Lees-McRae annual retreat feeling so pumped about the school and its opportunities for the year ahead. So did their team. That’s how prospective students feel when they come to your campus and get an authentic introduction, something more than a tour and a cookie in the front office. Visiting students need to experience something meaningful when they come to see campus, and they need to have that experience with admissions ambassadors who are in alignment with the school and with your goals.

So what are you planning? How are you keeping your team in lockstep while generating new ideas for the year ahead?

An on-campus Ideastorm is a great place to start setting the tone for the next recruitment cycle. Events and conferences that expand the perspective of your counselors, your operations staff, and your management team are, too. If you’re curious about having H·A ThirtyOne lead an event on campus, or want to sign up for our next public Ideastorm in Indianapolis, you can inquire or register here. And if you’re headed to ACT or NACAC, make sure to come say hello!

Talk soon.

Mike Wesner, the “Big Idea Guy”  & Karyn Adams, the “Connector-of-Dots”

-ps-Any restaurant recommendations for Chicago? We’re all ears (and mouths). Seriously.