Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Book Review of Power of Retention by N Raisman

Customer Service or Bust!

Colleges must recognize students as customers buying into their higher education services. This is essentially the theme central to Dr. Neal Raisman's The Power of Retention: More Customer Service for Higher Education. And, given the examples he cites throughout this intensive read, it's nearly impossible to disagree with that assertion.

After all, high school graduates are bombarded with advertisements from various learning institutions, so students and their parents view education through the eyes of a consumer. Just like any other service,
colleges make more money through repeat customers.

Raisman ups the ante on his student retention concepts in this follow-up to his best-selling book Embrace the Oxymoron: Customer Service in Higher Education. He offers more solutions, how-tos, research and formulas that can help your school to increase retention and enrollment.

Customer service is explained in great detail along with the difference between retaining and obtaining students. But perhaps the book's most helpful aspect are the practical formulas Raisman describes that can help determine the real dollar value of retention at your school. Some other suggested tools include surveys, adjusting to the ways students communicate, creating a secure campus and a several tips to make students more enthusiastic about learning.

If you think these insights sound like common sense, think again. Nearly 72 percent of students drop out prior to graduation due to poor or weak academic customer service. With Raisman's insights, you can beat the percentages and help your school both excel at customer service and increase profit margins.

There is no one who knows as much about retention and customer service than Raisman. His new book plainly shows that. And he writes in a non-academic style that is clear, uncomplicated and even humorous at times. Power of Retention is a must read for everyone who wants to increase retention and success for students and the school.

Book Review by: Sarah Skelnik Career College Central

Dr. Raisman is a leading authority and consultant on customer service in higher education. Dr. Raisman's number one selling book - Embrace the Oxymoron: Customer Service in Higher Education - has been purchased by 52% of all colleges in the US. Neal is a highly sought after speaker, trainer, customer service auditor, researcher, marketer and general maven on customer service. He has a PhD from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst in neurolinguistics; was a Fulbright Fellow in France; has published three books on customer service, retention and academic sales and over 80 articles, plus the zine/blog

Learn more about Career College Central magazine and Daily Reports by clicking here

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sales by Any Other Name...

I was called to task by a reader of the blog-zine recently for using business terms like sales in my writing. The anonymous emailer (didn’t send the comment here) said I was demeaning the academic enterprise with terms like sales.

“WE do not SELL anything. We provide opportunity that will be beneficial to the student if only he or she will reach up and accept whet we offer through study and appreciation. Academia is untainted by monetary and bottom line considerations that drive corporate operations. Please stop employing such degrading terminology.”

Well, call it what you want. Label it admissions or recruiting if it makes you feel better but we all know what it actually is. It is sales. And there is nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all.

Sales are core to the academic setting. From the professor in the classroom evangelizing a theory, the researcher promoting a grant idea to get money, fundraisers convincing alumni to donate or a president working to convince from the bully pulpit, they are all selling.

We need to erase the discomfort of the used car salesman, life insurance agent, telemarketer, Herb Tarlek images of sales from our minds. Selling can be and usually is an ethical and valuable profession. Willy Loman may have been a flawed father and husband but he saw the beauty of the profession of making connections and building respect. Sales.

And as a person who sells better, stronger futures, an admissions salesperson helps others each time he or she helps guide a person into college. There is not much else that is as important for a student and the college itself. If you did not help that man or woman commit to coming to your college and seeking to graduate, the faculty would have no one to teach after all. No education would take place.

There may be people on the campus who do believe that “this would be a great place to work if it weren’t for the students” but there would be no place without the students. And who helps sell students on the school? You do. In a sense, you are the essential piece in creating the school.

If you did not do your job, and do it well, there would be no school. Yes, you cannot do the job alone. No sales person works alone finally. Sales are a group effort. There must be products to sell. Services to promote. Value to impart. Colleagues to assist you and then process the sale to make it an actual transaction.

But let’s face it; you are the primary point in the sales process. It is your skill in presenting the school, the program of study, the future and the demands that turn a lead or show of interest into a potential student. So the better you can do your job, the more successful you, your colleagues, the school and the students will be.

Yes, you are there not just for the school and your own attainment but primarily for your client’s success. If a prospect does not become a student and then a graduate, you have not fully succeeded. Not simply because of referrals from students and graduates who will make your success in academic sales easier and greater but because mutual, shared attainment of goals and need fulfillment are the essence of academic sales.

If you merely talk someone into an application, sure you might meet a weekly objective. But that is not academic selling. That is just the first step in a longer sales process that in the case of arm twisting application getting may not lead to your, the schools nor the potential student’s real and needed goals.

An application is not the sale. The student excited, convinced and eager to come to school and graduate is. The real close to the sale is not even graduation. It is becoming an alumnus referral for the school. Some one so happy with the college or university that he or she sells for you.

And by the way, every one of us is a salesperson for the school. The way we are perceived every day is a projection of the college. How we act, teach, communicate are all part of the selling of the school. Our student customers are making buying decisions all the while they are on or off campus. Go to class? Study? Do the homework? Stay in school? Dropout? These are all buying decisions that are based on how we are all perceived. How we present the school.

Walk through the halls with a smile and a greeting for everyone and you present, portray, project, sell reason to stay in school and graduate. If your enthusiasm shows in the classroom or office, you are letting students know they are important and selling them your excitement for learning, the school and for them. And they will buy it. Buy it and become more compilable learners and students who will do their homework, pay attention, complete forms, even pay bills more readily making their and your lives better and more pleasant. This is all part of selling the school too. And the college, university, community and career college will be better for your inadvertent selling. Calling anything you want. Just being nice, polite, friendly, enjoying your work, students and others...Doesn't matter what you call it. Just do it.

And oh yes, thank you for doing it. And thanks to all the professional salespeople who keep the college and students headed toward success. If it bothers you to think of yourself as a salesperson, call yourself an enrollment missionary or whatever. Just keep doing it and thanks.

AcademicMAPS is the leader in increasing student retention, enrollment and revenue through research training and customer service solutions to colleges, universities and career colleges in the US, Canada, and Europe as well as to businesses that seek to work with them
We increase your success

GET A COPY OF MY NEW BOOK THE POWER OF RETENTION: MORE CUSTOMER SERVICE IN HIGHER EDUCATION by clicking here. Conduct your own campus customer service retention seminars. Discounts on multiples copies of The Power of Retention.
“We had hoped we’d improve our retention by 3% but with the help of Dr. Raisman, we increased it by 5%.” Rachel Albert, Provost, University of Maine-Farmington

“Neal led a retreat that initiated customer service and retention as a real focus for us and gave us a clear plan. Then he followed up with presentations and workshops that kicked us all into high gear. We recommend with no reservations; just success.” Susan Mesheau, Executive Director U First: Integrated Recruitment & Retention University of New Brunswick

“Thank you so much for the wonderful workshop at Lincoln Technical Institute. It served to re-center ideas in a great way. I perceived it to be a morale booster, breath of fresh air, and a burst of passion.” Shelly S, Lincoln Technical Institute

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Higher Education Management Group Interview

Academic Maps works with colleges, universities and business to improve customer service in order to increase enrollment, retention and morale. The President of Academic Maps is Dr. Neal A. Raisman, a past college and university president, dean and faculty member.

Keith Hampson: The “Higher Education Management Group” originated with my belief that real progress in higher education will require leadership from the management ’side of the house’. However, colleges and universities don’t typically have a large pool of seasoned managers and leaders from which to draw on to lead institutional change. Where will this talent come from? What role can consultancies play in helping schools develop effective management?

Neal Raisman: That is really a key question. The numbers and talent are there. The issue is really one of what seasoning we use to develop managers and administrators in higher ed. Colleges and universities are really rather cloistered places with strong and unique cultures, customs, traditions, codes, and mores. These are all meant to preserve the academic status quo with its faculty rights and power structure.

There are very few programs that teach college or university administrators and managers how to do their jobs. There are a few good ones for future community college administrators, but not for universities. Most managers and administrators in higher ed come up, or down, from faculty positions so they are very aware of the pressure to maintain; not change. Being a change agent is a sure way for a president, for example, to anger the campus and lose a job.

As a result, colleges are extremely slow to make the changes they need in order to survive and succeed. Universities tend to be better at using their intellectual capital to tell the world outside of the university how it needs to change, than applying this knowledge to its own operations. Of course, there are many great presidents, trustees and managers who see the wisdom in my Good Academic Customer Service Principle 14: To every problem there is more than one solution. And they may be external rather than from academia.

They are reaching out to experts and consultants. They are asking them to come in and help develop solutions to problems. Part of my work has been to teach managers and senior administrators how to increase student retention – for many, this has not really been a serious issue before. As a result, there is a need for consultancies to develop programs that can teach college and universities administrators and managers how to do their jobs better, easier and with greater success. Not easy to get in the door, but they are needed.

Keith Hampson: You recently launched The Administrator’s Bookshelf, a series of publications that provides ‘cliff notes’ for college and university management. What is the gap that this venture seeks to fill?

Neil Raisman: The Administrators Bookshelf is working to fill a knowledge and time gap for college managers and administrators. Many academic administrators come to their office and its demands without formal management or administrative training. They essentially get on-the-job training and often struggle, and sometimes fail, before succeeding. The Administrator’s bookshelf provides quick, practical and applicable how to’s and best practices - sort of administrative Cliff Notes - to guide administrators to complete the tasks and demands of the job successfully the first time. Each booklet contains vital information, a case study, and an implementation guide to ensure a thorough understanding and easy implementation of successful strategies in the topic area.

These short booklets (15-20 pages) are written in direct, non-academic language by seasoned administrators. For example, a booklet on running successful meetings contains how-to’s and best practices for planning meetings, setting agendas, identifying the appropriate stakeholders, and establishing an environment that promotes constructive dialog. Useful techniques for engaging participants in discussion and a clearly defined decision-making process are included in the booklet. A case study illustrates implementation of the techniques and demonstrates how the techniques enhance the outcome of a variety of campus meetings. Thought-provoking questions at the end of the booklet encourage the reader to identify the gaps in their own practice and guide them in selecting the appropriate techniques for implementation at their campus meetings.

There are other books such as The First Days (as an Administrator) that tells potential or new managers an administrators the experiences of others when they came into their position. It covers every type of administrative position and level of school - universities, colleges, community and career colleges, private, public, for-profit and not for profit. It tells what really awaits on that first day A day of hanging pictures and learning where the coffee machine is or one of no desk, CNN coming in the door, drug discoveries, no one knowing you are coming, the person who hired you gone, police calling and…. Well, it has it all. Great book that every administrator and potential manager should read.

Keith Hampson: In your work you’ve suggested that great customer service has traditionally not been the focus of our colleges and universities. Why has this been the case? What are the obstacles to addressing this problem ?

Neil Raisman: The old joke in academia is that “This would be a great place to work if it weren’t for the students.” I fear that my work over the past decade shows this is more true than funny for too many schools. Higher education is a multi-billion dollar industry that does not like having customers. Some of the reasons are traditional. Colleges want the PhD for faculty. The PhD is a research degree in which teaching is not a concern. We promote based on research, not teaching ability. One can win a teaching award and not tenure. In fact, spending too much time on students and teaching and your research suffers. Furthermore, colleges use what I call the “burn and churn” approach to new student admissions. Retention is an after thought. Just keep recruiting new students and don’t worry about those who leave. We’ll just replace them.

Proof? The national graduation rate is at 52.8% of all students who start college. And that is over a six-year period for a four-year degree. That means just about 42% of all original students do not complete a degree. That is a huge loss to our society, our economy, and to thousands of families. The situation will slowly improve a bit, as the competition for students increases, the pool shrinks, and budgets atrophy. As colleges realize that there is a direct correlation between revenues and keeping students. Rather than paying over $12,000 to obtain a student, they will start to see the wisdom of academic customer service. Not retail, but academic - two very different things. And the tide is starting to turn, my books such as The Power of Retention (published through are selling very briskly and my zine picks up over a thousand new readers a week.

AcademicMAPS is the leader in increasing student retention, enrollment and revenue through research training and customer service solutions to colleges, universities and career colleges in the US, Canada, and Europe as well as to businesses that seek to work with them
We increase your success

GET A COPY OF MY NEW BOOK THE POWER OF RETENTION: MORE CUSTOMER SERVICE IN HIGHER EDUCATION by clicking here. Conduct your own campus customer service retention seminars. Discounts on multiples copies of The Power of Retention.
“We had hoped we’d improve our retention by 3% but with the help of Dr. Raisman, we increased it by 5%.” Rachel Albert, Provost, University of Maine-Farmington

“Neal led a retreat that initiated customer service and retention as a real focus for us and gave us a clear plan. Then he followed up with presentations and workshops that kicked us all into high gear. We recommend with no reservations; just success.” Susan Mesheau, Executive Director U First: Integrated Recruitment & Retention University of New Brunswick

“Thank you so much for the wonderful workshop at Lincoln Technical Institute. It served to re-center ideas in a great way. I perceived it to be a morale booster, breath of fresh air, and a burst of passion.” Shelly S, Lincoln Technical Institute

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

100 college reviews

Laura Milligan who writes a blog named LearningXL sent me the following list of 100 college reviews. I thought it was helpful, useful and fun. Check out #15 the rankings by squirrel population and health...

100 Free College Rankings (Traditional, Unorthodox and Just Plain Crazy)

Posted in College Lifestyle on Nov 24, 2008

By Laura Milligan

When you’re researching colleges, online schools and graduate universities, you’ve got a lot of choices to make. From academics to student-faculty ratios to the most diverse and even most attractive student bodies, which aspect of campus life is most important to you? Before you get too overwhelmed trying to find the best university ranking, take a look at our list of 100 different kinds of college rankings, from the traditional to rankings that measure demographics to ones that estimate your chances of striking it rich after graduation. Getting accepted is up to you.


Check out these rankings first if you’re starting your college research from scratch.

  1. Princeton Review Academics: View rankings for Best College Library, professors, financial aid and more.
  2. U.S. News and World Report National Universities: This list features one of the most prestigious college rankings around.
  3. Forbes: America’s Best Colleges 2008: This list ranks the Top 50 Overall, Top 25 Public, Top 25 Private, and even 30 Surprises.
  4. College Prowler Academics: Browse schools by their College Prowler grade: A+, A, A-, B+ and so on.
  5. College Rankings: America’s Best Colleges: AOL’s list includes top schools like Princeton, Harvard, Yale, California Institute of Technology and more.
  6. The Top 50: College Humor’s list ranks Penn State, University of Florida and Virginia Tech as the top 3.

Business Schools

Check out these business school rankings to learn about specialty programs, executive programs and online schools.

  1. 2008 Best Business Schools and Specialty Programs: Yahoo! Education’s lists cover best business schools overall, best Executive MBA programs and more.
  2. Executive MBA Rankings: The Wall Street Journal’s ranking reviews each program and school in great detail.
  3. Research the Top Online Colleges with business programs here.
  4. Best Schools by Specialty: BusinessWeek’s list helps business students find the best school for them by major–such as finance, management and consulting, marketing, and more.
  5. The Best U.S. B-Schools of 2008: This interactive ranking lists Chicago’s Booth school in the top spot.
  6. Top 50 Entrepreneurial Colleges for 2008: This list features both undergrad and graduate programs.

Atypical Rankings

From great schools for average students to rankings that are based on the campus squirrel population, these off-the-wall rankings are a lot of fun and strangely useful.

  1. Parties: The Princeton Review’s Parties rankings include lists like Reefer Madness and Lots of Hard Liquor.
  2. Up and Coming Schools: Forget Ivy Leagues. These schools are the ones everyone will be talking about in the next few years.
  3. The Campus Squirrel Listings: Check out this ranking system to find out why "the quality of an institution of higher learning can often be determined by the size, health and behavior of the squirrel population on campus."
  4. Best Social Life: According to StudentsReview, students at Tulane, Dartmouth and University of Missouri - Columbia have the best social life in the U.S.
  5. A+ Options for B Students: Just because you’re not at the top of your class doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to go to a good school. Look for more options here.

Medical and Nursing Schools

Here you can find rankings and stats for medical schools and nursing schools.

  1. Top 10 Medical Schools: You’ll find two separate lists for research schools and primary care schools.
  2. Best Medical Schools: U.S. News and World Report ranked Harvard the best medical school in 2008. Find out who else made the list.
  3. Medical School Rankings: This list ranks schools based on MCAT average and acceptance rate.
  4. SDN PreMeds’ Medical School Index: The Student Doctor Network ranks nearly 150 medical schools here.
  5. Nursing School Rankings: The Nursing Online Education Database ranks online degree programs here.
  6. Guide to Health Programs: U.S. News and World Report ranks public health, pharmacy and nursing programs here.
  7. Top Schools for Nursing: Purdue University, University of Florida and Wheaton College round out the top 3 in this list.


Find out which schools are the most diverse and the most welcoming to minority students here.

  1. Demographics: The Princeton Review: Here you can find several rankings related to demographics, including Most Religious Students, Gay Community Accepted, and Diverse Student Population.
  2. Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Twenty-five historically black colleges are ranked in this list, including Tuskegee University and Spelman College.
  3. 25 Top Colleges for Hispanics: Hispanic Magazine ranks schools like Princeton, Amherst and Stanford as being some of the best schools for Hispanic students.
  4. 100 best colleges niche factor: CosmoGirl! ranks the best colleges for women based on career services, health services, athletics for women and more.
  5. Top 50 Colleges for Black Students: Morehouse, Hampton University and Spelman College are ranked as the top 3 in this list.
  6. Top 10 Most Diverse Schools: These schools welcome the most diverse student bodies in the country.
  7. Best Colleges for Asian Americans: This site lists the top 15 liberal arts schools and top 15 universities that are most welcoming to Asian American students.

Law Schools

For help researching the best law schools, including best value law schools, check out this list.

  1. Law School Rankings: The Princeton Review’s rankings include lists like Best Career Prospects and Best Classroom Experience.
  2. Top 2008 Law School Rankings: This ranking system uses qualifications like student-faculty ratio, educational quality and more.
  3. Guide to Law Schools: Discover the best law schools here, based on tuition, specialty offerings and more.
  4. Judging the Law Schools: Here you’ll find rankings based on the institutional index, diversity index, value, quality and more.
  5. Composite Law School Rankings: The Consus Group lists Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia and NYU as their top 5 schools.
  6. Best Value Law Schools: If you dream of going to law school but aren’t sure you can afford it, check out this list.
  7. Law School Rankings: This site ranks the top 20 law schools in the U.S.


These days, schools compete to offer the most advanced technology resources and the best wireless options. Research wireless campuses here.

  1. America’s Most Connected Campuses: Find out which college campuses are the best for wireless access and more.
  2. Top 100 Wireless Colleges: Indiana University, Purdue, and The University of Texas at Austin are ranked as the top 3 wireless campuses in this list.

Campus and Buildings

If a beautiful campus is very important to you, visit these rankings that come with photos of the university and its grounds.

  1. The 20 Most Beautiful Colleges in the USA: View pictures of campuses like Wagner College, CUNY Brooklyn, Rhodes Colleges and others here.
  2. The 20 Ugliest Colleges in the USA: By comparison, you can see photos of the ugliest campuses here.
  3. Top 5 Most Beautiful College Campuses: Princeton, Pepperdine, and Agnes Scott College are included in this list.

Attractiveness Rankings

Going to college isn’t just about getting an education and preparing for a career. Find out which schools have the most attractive student bodies.

  1. College Prowler - Girls: Schools that earn an A+ for hot girls include Loyola College in Maryland, Arizona State and Pepperdine.
  2. Best Looking/Most Attractive Women: College Confidential’s message boards rate the campuses with the hottest women.
  3. College Prowler - Guys: Only two universities earn an A+ ranking here: Texas A&M and University of Arizona.
  4. Hottest Student Bodies: Top 50 Universities Ranked by Looks: This list comes with pictures.
  5. Best, most attractive college towns: Discover the most attractive college towns here, from Austin to Baton Rouge.

Best Value Rankings

Discover best value schools and schools that accept the most financial aid here.

  1. Top 10 Best Value Colleges: View the best value public and private colleges here.
  2. Tuition and Costs — Data and Rankings: This blog ranks schools like Brigham Young University and the U.S. Naval Academy according to tuition and financial aid.
  3. Top 100 Colleges by Highest Tuition: Bates College, Middlebury College and Colby College are ranked as the top 3 most expensive colleges in this list.

Buzz Schools

These up-and-coming schools are starting to get more attention. Find out why.

  1. 25 Hottest Schools: Newsweek’s list ranks the hottest schools for sports fans, the hottest Ivy, hottest men’s college and more.
  2. The 10 Coolest (and Greenest) Colleges in America: Sustainablog ranks the most environmentally conscious schools here.


For rankings on sports programs and athletic facilities, turn to this list.

  1. Rankings - Athletics: Schools like LSU, OSU and UT receive an A+ for athletics from College Prowler.
  2. Athletics - Overall: This blogger ranked schools’ athletic programs according to football bowl wins, intramural programs, number of NCAA championships and more.
  3. NCAA Statistics and Records: Browse sports statistics by sport or championship records to evaluate schools.
  4. The Associated Press Top 25 Poll: Sports Illustrated’s poll features schools like Alabama, Texas Tech, Florida, Oklahoma and USC.
  5. Extracurriculars: The Princeton Review finds out which schools have the most team spirit and offer the best athletic facilities.

Online Schools

Online schools offer a lot of flexibility. Find out which ones are the best deals and offer the best education here.

  1. OEDB’s Online College Rankings: The Online Education Database’s list of online schools is helpful for distance learners and those going back to school.
  2. Best Colleges and Universities Online: Check here for a wide range of online degree programs and schools.
  3. Online and Distance Learning Reviews: Schools like DeVry, Central Pennsylvania College and Keller Graduate School of Management are graded here.
  4. The Top 25 Online Degree Programs: Highly recommended schools ranked here include AIU Online, University of Phoenix and more.

International Rankings

If you’re looking to enroll in an international university, use these rankings as a guide to finding the most reputable schools.

  1. The Best International B-Schools of 2008: BusinessWeek’s list helps students wanting to enroll in an international business school research tuition, job offers and more.
  2. Ranking Web of World Universities: This site believes that high web rankings can sometimes equal prestige and a good reputation.
  3. European MBA Rankings: Schools like the London Business School and HEC Paris round out the top 10 here.
  4. Financial Times Business school rankings: This British paper lists the best MBA programs available.
  5. Guardian University Guide: The Guardian’s University Guide ranks universities around the UK.
  6. International Side by Side Rankings: Here you can compare the top rankings of business schools as determined by The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, Asia Inc., India Times, and more.

Rankings by Students

If you’d like to know what students have to say about their university, check out these rankings.

  1. Rate My Professors: Here students can recommend or warn other students about professors. Rankings are organized by hotness factor, homework, and level of difficulty.
  2. College Prowler: This fun site is "written by students for students."
  3. StudentsReview: The SR Dynamic University and College Rankings include lists like the Top Creative Schools, Most Beautiful Campus and The Top IVY.

Rankings by Region/Location

From Northeast to the Midwest to the West, these rankings are divided up by region.

  1. Best Regional Colleges: Browse The Princeton Review’s best colleges in the Northeast, Midwest, Southeast and West.
  2. 2007 Best Universities by Region: Browse universities that offer opportunities for degrees up to Master’s level in the Midwest, North, South and West here.
  3. The Top Midwest Colleges: This website ranks and provides information for Midwestern colleges like Carleton College, St. Olaf College, Kalamazoo College and others.
  4. Baccalaureate Colleges (West): If you want to go to college in a state like Texas, Oklahoma or Hawaii, check out this list.
  5. Top 10 Southern Colleges by Salary Potential: PayScale rates Rice University, Georgetown, and Duke as offering the most successful career preparation and prospects for students.
  6. Best Schools in California by Salary Potential: California has a plethora of colleges and universities to choose from. Use this list to find the one that will help you land a great job after graduation.
  7. Baccalaureate Colleges (Midwest) Rankings: This 2009 list ranks Taylor University, Ohio Northern University and Augustana in the top 3.

Private Schools and Liberal Arts Universities

If you’ve decided that you want a liberal arts education, check out these rankings.

  1. 100 Best Values in Private Colleges: Not all private schools are out of your reach. Find the best value schools here.
  2. Liberal Arts Colleges: Amherst College tops the 2009 list. Find out the rest of the schools that are ranked by U.S. News and World Report here.
  3. Top Colleges: Four-Year Liberal Arts Colleges in the U.S.: This guide reviews popularly ranked schools like Amherst College and Middlebury College.
  4. Top Liberal Arts Colleges by Salary Potential: Bucknell University, Colgate University and Amherst College prepare students for high paying salaries, according to this ranking.

Public Schools

These rankings only feature public schools, so you don’t have to waste your time sorting through schools that won’t appeal to you.

  1. 100 Best Values in Public Colleges: Kiplinger’s list is a great resource for students operating on a budget.
  2. Top Public Schools: National Universities: More than 65 public universities like UVA, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor and College of William and Mary are ranked here.
  3. Top Public Universities: Here you’ll find reviews of some of the best state-funded universities, like Georgia Tech, UCLA, and UNC - Chapel Hill.
  4. Top State Universities by Salary Potential: PayScale reports that graduates from University of California, Berkeley, UVA and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo earn competitive salaries.

Art Schools

For rankings of art schools, turn to this list.

  1. Best Graduate Schools Fine Arts: RISDE, Yale and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago are ranked in the top 3 on this list.
  2. The Best Design Schools in the World: BusinessWeek has ranked 60 design schools "from Arizona State to Zollverein."
  3. Design School Rankings: This article reviews different rankings systems and explains the methodology used for ranking design schools.
  4. Top Creative Schools: StudentsReview ranks Dartmouth, University of California - Irvine and Brown University among the top creative schools in the country.

Engineering Schools

Here you’ll find rankings of engineering schools in the U.S.

  1. Engineering School Rankings: Review rankings criteria and lists from different websites here.
  2. Best Engineering Schools: Find out how U.S. News and World Report ranked the country’s engineering schools in 2008.
  3. Top Engineering Schools: You might be surprised by the schools that top this list.

Graduate Schools

Graduate students will find that these rankings and lists are very helpful.

  1. America’s Best Graduate Schools: Browse graduate schools by academic discipline here.
  2. 2008 Best Graduate Schools and Programs: Browse graduate programs in education, engineering, health, science, social science and the humanities.
  3. America’s Top Grad Schools: Read CBS’ report here.
  4. The Top American Research Universities: View reports from 2000-2006.
  5. The Customized Graduate School Rankings tool will help you find the best program and school for your goals.


For even more college rankings and lists, visit these sites.

  1. Study Abroad Program Search: Peterson’s list can help you find the best schools with the best study abroad options.
  2. Top 10 Schools with the Happiest Students: According to this list, students at Clemson University and Brown University are the happiest college students in the U.S.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Enrollment Doesn't End on Your Start Day

I just spoke to the VP for Enrollment Management at a large college. She informed me that enrollment looked slightly down from projections for Spring 2009 “now that the enrollment period is over”.

OVER? Enrollment is over? Is she nuts? Are the other seven out of ten administrators I spoke to who had similar thoughts also crazed? Is there some academic Alzheimer’s out there that affects the brains of college and university administrators when it comes to enrollment?

Enrollment is not over. It is barely underway at the second unique event of a multi-year process. Just look at the chart above. Enrollment is not an event. It doesn’t end when a student signs an application, sends in a deposit and shows up on the start of classes day. It is a process, a continuum that starts with marketing and pauses at graduation. The real work of enrollment we call retention is just really beginning.

It’s the pet rock thing again. If admissions sells 100 pet rocks on Monday and 98 are returned on Wednesday, how many pet rocks were sold? Just 2!

So here is the process in its 8 steps as shown in the chart above. BTW, click on it and it will open larger in another window. Or so I was told.

  1. Marketing on-going
  2. Application - unique event
  3. Decision on-going
  4. Stitch In on-going
  5. Show unique event
  6. Retention on-going
  7. Graduation unique event
  8. Alumnus on-going leading to another retention process called fundraising.

The process starts and contuse with marketing throughout the entire enrollment process. Marketing does not have to be the expensive activity of external advertising purchase but it does need to be as vigorous after the sale as before. Students need to be sold on their choice of your school every day. And if possible, every minute of the day. Keep Students can make a buying decision “should I stay or leave?”- every day, every class, every encounter with people, the campus or even a mention of the school. Students decide to attend or skip a class based on whether or not they feel it provides value, or the prof is nice, mean, indifferent or even if they just are motivated, apathetic or upset by something. Skip classes and the decision to leave and end enrollment is underway.

Internal marketing can be as obvious as events, athletics, newspapers, newsletters slipped under doors or hung in bathrooms. The campus or building objective correlatives are also potential marketing statements that will influence buying decisions. Clean, safe campuses , walkways, good signs and even bathrooms are important.

POCmarks are also decision and buying points. If students encounter good customer service at the POCmarks, they are reinforced in their decision to stay – to self-retain. If they encounter weak, indifferent or poor academic customer service, well, that can end the enrollment process.

Repeat this mantra for success and greater happiness. Enrollment ends at graduation. Enrollment ends at graduation. Enrollment ends at graduation.

My work is just underway; not over. My work is just underway; not over.

I will retain students. I will retain students.

More on the enrollment process and its parts next time. No that does not have to be repeated. And if you want a copy of the chart, just click here and let me know.


“We had hoped we’d improve our retention by 3% but with the help of Dr. Raisman, we increased it by 5%.” Rachel Albert, Provost, University of Maine-Farmington

“Neal led a retreat that initiated customer service and retention as a real focus for us and gave us a clear plan. Then he followed up with presentations and workshops that kicked us all into high gear. We recommend with no reservations; just success.” Susan Mesheau, Executive Director U First: Integrated Recruitment & Retention University of New Brunswick

“Thank you so much for the wonderful workshop at Lincoln Technical Institute. It served to re-center ideas in a great way. I perceived it to be a morale booster, breath of fresh air, and a burst of passion.” Shelly S, Lincoln Technical Institute

AcademicMAPS has been providing customer service, retention, enrollment and research training and solutions to colleges, universities and career colleges in the US, Canada, and Europe as well as to businesses that seek to work with them since 1999. Clients range from small rural schools to major urban universities and corporations. Its services range from campus customer service audits, workshops, training, presentations, institutional studies and surveys to research on customer service and retention. AcademicMAPS prides itself on its record of success for its clients and students who are aided through the firm’s services. CALL OR EMAIL TODAY TO SEE HOW WE CAN HELP INCREASE YOUR SCHOOL'S RETENTION