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How Pre-Enrollment Advising Helps Colleges Market to Adult Students

In his article in volume two of the 2015 CAEL Forum and News, Kevin Ezzell, Director of Accelerated & Graduate Programs at Albright College, shared his thoughts on how pre-enrollment advising can help students succeed at both two- and four-year institutions. Throughout the article, Pre-Enrollment Advising Can Be Your Strongest Marketing Tool, Ezzell discussed the importance of pre-advising, a proactive approach in working with prospective transfer students to provide guidance throughout their time at their community college.

“Pre-enrollment advising involves marketing your nontraditional programs and creating relationships with transfer students, sometimes years before they are prepared for transfer and also creating a culture of pre-advising at both the four-year institution and community college,” wrote Ezzell, “[…] Maintaining a strong relationship with community colleges - can be your most valuable program marketing return on investment.”

Ezzell highlighted multiple points of consideration on the value of pre-enrollment advising for institutions considering its implementation. The first pertains to discussing college affordability with prospective transfer students. With students increasingly conscious of the need to limit student debt, institutions can reiterate the amount of money transferring students will have saved by first receiving an education at a community college.  Pre-enrollment advising also allows four-year institutions to articulate the value of an associate degree, which Ezzell noted is often ignored. Finally, pre-enrollment advising gives potential transfer students insight into how they can transfer their credits for use toward completing a four-year program.  

Ezzell stressed the importance of developing partnerships with community college transfer counselors and advisors. This, Ezzell noted, would allow the institution to “[Develop] a relationship of mutual respect and trust with the community college which allows [] advisors to visit their campus [which] can be a critical piece to culti­vating a pre-advising relationship with prospective students.”

In summarizing the importance of pre-enrollment advising, Ezzell pointed to its value in reaching a goal all higher education advocates aim to reach: increasing degree completion.

“It is critical for community colleges and four-year institutions to develop and enhance partnerships in an effort to streamline degree completion,” noted Ezzell. “A concerted effort must take place to prioritize transfer students and create easy pathways for degree completion. While the approaches discussed [] may not be relevant to all institutions, at minimum an internal review of how pre-advising is approached with regards to transfer students at your institution should be considered as a way to promote access to higher education, to reduce the cost of education, and to play a role in the national agenda for degree completion.”

In addition to a host of other benefits, CAEL members receive access to the members-only CAEL Forum and News, which provides insight into the latest research on the adult learner and programs that remove barriers to receiving a postsecondary degree or credential needed for today’s rapidly evolving jobs. To become a CAEL member, click here.

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