Lydia Hawkins, Director of Enrollment, Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School, Alberta, Canada
Why do you belong to The Enrollment Management Association?
I belong, because I couldn’t imagine not belonging. The Annual Conference, webinars, regional meetings, The Yield—have all been crucial elements of my professional growth. Membership gives us a reason to connect, resources to use, and brings a sense of professionalism to admission and enrollment management.
What has changed the most in the world of independent school admission and enrollment since you first started?
A professionalization of the industry. Gone are the days of falling into an admission role and families lining up to join our schools. As an industry, we’ve had to adapt to marketing trends, data analysis, and strategic planning in order to fill our schools. Organizations such as The Enrollment Management Association have helped drive this professionalization through the Annual Conference and other events, as well as through outreach to heads, boards, and business professionals.
What surprises you about your job?
How exhausted and excited one can feel at the same time about one’s role. January through March is an intense time in admission. Yet, meeting and admitting amazing prospective families each year makes everything worth it.
If you could tell yourself one thing when you took your first job in admission office, what would it be?
That the “other duties as assigned” line in your contract is real. Admission and enrollment professionals have to be ready to take on whatever task comes their way in order to showcase and fill the school. Be ready and be flexible.
What do admission and enrollment professionals need to be successful?
Patience, an open mind, and a great mentor.
What is the one piece of knowledge/ advice you’d like to pass along to your admission/enrollment colleagues?
Use your resources. This includes students, teachers, and parents in your school community and other admission and enrollment professionals in other schools. Our title-specific teams might be small, but we have a whole community behind us. Use them, appreciate them, be one of them.