Consultants, like schools, can differ in fundamental ways, Our mission at William M Shain Consulting is to help you achieve your school's recruitment goals while treating constituents well, both in the marketplace and on campus. Treating prospective families well is simply good business practice. In addition, enrolling an appropriate student cohort is important to all members of your campus community.
We are guided by three core principles: (I) Sensitivity to your school's traditions and values. Your marketing message, recruitment practices and admission decisions must be consistent with what your school stands for. (2) Practicality. Our reports arc crisp and action-oriented, We do not measure the quality of our work by the frequency with which we can produce fifty-page reports with a multitude of graphs and charts. You want to know what to do, and to bc able to isolate this with casc in a report. (3) Cost-efficiency. As a small firm, we have a significantly lower operational overhead than the larger companies which consult with educational institutions. As a result, our prices will always be competitive.
The services described here can be delivered independently. They benefit, however, from being pursued in combination, The needs of no two independent schools are identical, Of course, and the specific protocol recommended will always be adapted to the particular needs of your institution.
Improve admissions office functioning
Admissions teams at colleges and secondary schools perform similar functions in seeking to enroll the most desirable entering cohort consistent With an institution's mission. In both cases, offices arc staffed by hard-working and idealistic professionals who care deeply about their schools and are personally dedicated to their work. While engaging consultants to support the admission office is common in higher education, it is relatively rare at the secondary school level. Yet most or the activities I have described under Services to Colleges could be of equal benefit to independent secondary schools.
Market your school more effectively
In my admissions career, I have visited thousands ofhigh schools, many of them repeatedly. I am always struck by their distinctive institutional personalities. I am also struck by how rarely this personality is described coherently by school personnel or in published information. At some schools. virtually no attention has been paid to this question. More commonly, schools develop a list Of attributes but fail to incorporate them into a succinct message that attracts people to their institution. Through conversations with all members of the students, parents, administrators, and alumni—I can help clarify your school's distinctiveness and develop a compelling protocol for communicating to your audiences.
Or perhaps you have already completed market research, and have either seen no results or been unsure how to implement the suggestions effectively. I can help your admission office and your school community achieve effective results from research you have undertaken.
Help your students (and their parents) navigate the college process
In speaking to parents and students at secondary schools, my goal is to provide useful, how-to information. I have received consistent feedback that the talks arc entertaining and leave both students and parents feeling more confident about approaching the college process. Because am no longer employed by a college or university, I am free to "tell it like it is." While the talks are generally directed to juniors and/or seniors and their parents, I also speak to and their parents, albeit with a very different presentation. In addition, I deliver presentations on the constituent portions of the college process—the interview, essay writing, campus visits, and more.
Add punch to faculty recommendations
As a secondary school social studies teacher, I wrote hundreds of teacher recommendations. In my admissions career, I have read more than a hundred thousand. Recommendations are critical in the admission process at selective colleges, but they constitute a significant burden on high school faculty members, not all of whom understand their importance. Teachers have found it constructive to attend my presentation on how faculty recommendations are used in the college admission process and how they can be crafted more efficiently and effectively.
Educate your boards concerning college admissions realities
Independent school boards of trustees typically do not have personal employment experience in education. While they care deeply about the institution they serve through their board membership, their experience in the for-profit sector can lead to a preoccupation with measuring outcomes. This is often appropriate and constructive, but it can have a chilling effect on the school's college counseling office, as it is in tension with the mission to guide students toward the best college fit, not necessarily the most prestigious option. The tension between these two different views can be reduced by sharing information On the college admission process With board members, thereby reducing their dependence on mass media. A presentation or workshop on college admissions has the additional benefit of being a high-energy, well-received segment Of a board meeting agenda.
Consider executive coaching
Do you supervise a talented staff member you would like to see rise to the next level Of achievement? Or perhaps you have a key employee Who is failing to show the managerial skills needed to execute work tasks as well as you want. Or you may be struggling to improve your own relationship with your supervisor, or with staff who report to you. In each of these situations, coaching can bong remarkable results. I work individually with clients in person or by phone through individual weekly sessions, typically lasting one hour. My experience in coaching admissions professionals has determined that to insure the best results, the minimum commitment is for twelve sessions. Important gains almost always seen in that time, and even more can be achieved When coaching is continued for another three to nine months, or even longer.