NACAC National Conference comes to Louisville
Enrollment Insights Blog

2019 Niche NACAC National Conference Preview

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The NACAC Conference is this week; so I wanted to share some tips to help new attendees make this a great experience, highlight some of the data-riffic sessions I’m excited for, and to preview what you can see at the Niche booth (#536). 

How to make this NACAC great:

  • Download and use the NACAC app! Set your schedule, add custom events (not that you would forget), and mark exhibitors you want to talk to.  
  • Introduce yourself to the people next to you in sessions or sit with someone new in the cafe, or while you’re in between sessions. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn.
  • Attend at least one session outside of your area to expand your knowledge. If you’re in recruitment, go sit in on a session about education technology. If you’re in operations, go learn about high school guidance. You will be surprised at how much you can expand your toolkit.
  • Head to the exhibit hall and do more than just walk through the middle of the aisles avoiding eye contact. Go in with some goals: new trends or technology that you want to learn more about, a company you’ve heard of but don’t know what they do, or relationships you want to start for the future. If you’re not a leader or someone who can make the decision, you can still learn a great deal and bring back new ideas to the office. 
  • Get engaged with the conversation on Twitter as well. The #NACAC19 tweets will clue you in to what’s going on and help you learn about sessions you’re not in. As always, the #EMChat community will be really active as well.

Sessions covering data-driven strategic decisions:

I’m a big advocate for combining quantitative and qualitative measures in all your admissions decisions. Not using data leaves you going on gut instinct and feelings, and only using data makes you miss opportunities and exceptions. Here are just a few of the sessions I’m excited about (there are usually several at a time):

  • A2: Aligning Your Efforts with a Strategic Plan
  • TL2: Mobile: More than Technology, It’s a Mindset
  • B4: Test Scores and Scholarships: Breaking the SAT/ACT Connection
  • B8: Entering New Recruitment Markets – A Scalable Approach
  • B10: Designing Data Collection Systems to Increase College Access
  • C5: Beyond Export – Maximizing Your Recruitment Data Potential
  • D2: Tomorrow’s Jobs – Employment Projections From the US Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • D12: Institution-Wide Analytics: Connecting Enrollment Management and Finance
  • EP9: Supporting Successful Student Pathways Through Record Management and Advanced Analytics
  • TL7: Enrollment Analytics: Planning and Executing with Precision
  • E2: Finding a Common Thread – 
  • E3: Using Data to Improve College Readiness and Program Impact
  • F2: Finding Untapped Enrollment Potential in Your Own Backyard

What’s at the Niche booth?

Back by popular demand, we’ll be offering cookies again, but that’s just an added perk. We’re also debuting the beta version of a new research and planning tool that I’m extremely excited about. It will be fully interactive for you to engage with, learn from, and share. This early version will allow schools to explore the student interest in them and see what other schools those students are considering. The tool combines the depth of Niche’s data in an intuitive and interactive interface. To say I’m excited is an understatement. We also have some beautiful new brochures that simplify the wide range of products and services that we offer to students, K-12 school personnel, undergraduate recruiters and marketers and recruiters, and now, graduate institutions. The design team here is fantastic and put a lot in to these — I’m really proud of them. There’s a lot more that Niche offers than I ever realized prior to joining.

I hope to see you there, and if you attend, look me up in the booth or reach out on Twitter and we can say hi and chat. I would love to hear your thoughts on the direction of the blog as well!

Prior to coming to Niche in 2019 Will served 9 years at Manchester University in roles as an Admissions Counselor, Associate Director for Admissions Operations, Social Media Coordinator, and ultimately as Digital Strategist. Will surfaces tactical insights from user behavior and surveys to help higher ed build recruitment strategies. In addition to the Enrollment Insights blog, webinars, and podcast; Will is a frequent conference speaker and podcast guest. He has presented at NACAC, AACRAO-SEM, AMA Higher Ed, CASE V, EduWeb, and EMA. Will's work has been featured in Forbes, Inside Higher Ed, CNBC, CNN, the LA Times, and The New York Times among other outlets.