NAGAP Recap: A Whirlwind in the Windy City

Returning home from NAGAP’s 2022 Graduate Enrollment Management Summit in Chicago — a whirlwind of smiles, connections, well-wishes and presentations — I feel excited about the work ahead and, as always, so impressed with my colleagues in the graduate enrollment management space. If NAGAP was any indication, GEM practitioners remain committed to and focused on improving graduate recruitment and outcomes.  

The conference was exciting and engaging. I guess it was just nice seeing people in person! 

But these certainly are challenging times. One of the biggest themes discussed at Capture Higher Ed’s NAGAP booth was how colleges and universities are preparing for the significant demographic shifts coming to higher education. A “demographic cliff,” which is projected to begin in 2025 (and likely continuing for decades), is projected in the form of a dramatic drop in the traditional, college-aged population. 

To diversify their offerings — and appeal to more students who are not 18-22 years of age — institutions are adding new graduate programs while growing enrollment in existing programs. If challenges are opportunities, this certainly qualifies as an opportunity for those working in GEM.    

Related to demographic shifts and the changing demands for higher education, other themes discussed during NAGAP included the importance of gathering and understanding data to make strategic changes as well as the ability to market to specific programmatic audiences. 

These issues were discussed recently during the Capture webinars, “New Graduate Programs? New Graduate Goals? No Graduate Problem!” and “Graduate 501: How to Build a Stronger Grad Enrollment Funnel.” 

As usual for GEM practitioners, you’re being asked to do all the above with highly limited resources. (Undergrad gets all the toys!) It has never been more vital for you to work smarter, not harder, to be acutely focused on your approach to enrollment, and to be good stewards of budget. 

Capture’s leading marketing automation, which was built specifically for higher ed recruitment, helps graduate admissions counselors identify individual students on their website, know what these students want to learn, and deliver timely, personalized messaging that leads to more and better enrollments.  

When 75% of your potential grad students go directly online, traditional recruitment methods are simply less effective. You need to identify those prospective grad students engaging with your programs online and make the connections that bring them to your campus. For the 2021 class, Capture identified 1,200 students per client grad school on average … enough interested and engaged students for schools to fill their classes three times. 

I’m sure that’s what you heard me say in Chicago if you visited Capture’s NAGAP booth. While my whirlwind in the Windy City felt like it was over before it began, I left energized, motivated and inspired. 

By Max Kostrach, Graduate Solutions Specialist, Capture Higher Ed