Recruit students with the highest potential and guide them through a distinct and inspiring student experience designed to nurture them with intentional student life programs, to place graduates in right-fit job opportunities, and to cultivate an alumni community that supports graduates throughout their lives
At Highlands College, we take a lifecycle approach to Student Services that begins with recruitment and ends with post-graduation support. We are committed to providing excellent support to our students at every point in their Highlands College journey.
We seek a robust enrollment of 1,000 of the best and brightest students. Enrollment is a linchpin of our strategy, as so much depends on getting it right. Accordingly, we have increased enrollment staffing, are adopting better tools, and have increased our recruiting budget. Our Academy model requires higher admissions standards. We are currently reviewing and revising our selection criteria and process, which will focus on student commitment and calling and markedly raise academic requirements. To achieve growth and quality objectives, we are tapping a broader candidate pool that feeds a well-functioning recruitment pipeline with an aim of markedly increasing applications. We are reaching beyond students interested in Bible colleges to a larger pool of students interested in a top-notch evangelistic Christian education. We are increasingly leveraging the Church’s ARC and Grow networks and our alumni. We are becoming more proactive, sending recruiters and ambassadors to high schools, churches, and recruiting events, equipped with effective messaging and recruiting methods. We are considering summer camps to stoke interest in the College. We will continue to host preview days that are light, fun, energetic, and informational, and that communicate our staff and faculty relational involvement with our students and our emphasis on student discipline. We are investing to better understand our market and accentuate our differentiators; we are increasingly focusing our messaging on our collegiate and social elements. We will also make selective, strategic investment in paid media. Lastly, we are analyzing the relationships among price, program quality, and enrollment numbers to appropriately adjust our scholarship program.
We are committed to providing a seamless, supportive, and successful student experience from orientation to placement. We walk with new students to provide the emotional and spiritual support they need to adjust to Highlands College, taking special care with students coming from church cultures different from Church of the Highlands. Beginning with orientation, we ensure our communications to parents are frequent and substantive. Student Success is Job One at Highlands College. We provide students with proactive and substantive advising through periodically scheduled meetings with assigned advisors and coaches. Each student is provided a roadmap, and substantive feedback is provided to let them know if they are succeeding and where to improve. Our advising is holistic; we provide tutoring, proactive financial advising, pastoral care, and spiritual discipleship. A key aim is to consistently reinforce students’ ministry calling, helping them to cultivate the skill to know where God wants them to go. Under our four-year Academy model, we will seek from students an affirmation of their calling at the two-year point. To accomplish our enhanced student success initiatives, we will lower our ratio of students to advisors/coaches and assign specific organizational responsibility for retention to ensure all of our staff and faculty are working well together to create an exceptional experience for our students.
Housing and dining are key to providing an immersive experience. Our objective is to provide safe, secure, and comfortable housing to our students. To this end, we are more intensively training our Resident Assistants, so they are equipped to handle any situation. Our Grandview campus will offer expanded dining options with a focus on better nutrition and more variety.
Our goal is guaranteed placement opportunities for students in full-time, paid ministry positions. To this end, we have increased placement staffing, are adopting better tools, and have increased our placement budget. We are developing a placement progression process with benchmarks and tracking. Our placement office engages students at orientation and maintains substantive engagement until graduation to ensure students finish well at Highlands College and start well at their new churches. To accomplish this aim, we are developing professional development training to include such things as mock interviews, self-assessments, and instruction in networking and resume writing. Residencies will play an increasingly important role in placement, serving as a bridge to full-time employment.
We are also expanding and deepening our relationships with church-employers. We are better leveraging the ARC and Grow networks to build partnerships and secure opportunities for our students. Using executive search firm techniques, Predictive Index, and other methods, we seek to right-fit our graduates with ministry opportunities. We recognize and celebrate all placements, including publicizing our alumni successes, and we are committed to tracking alumni placement after graduation.
Highlands College is creating a lifetime, 360-degree support relationship with alumni, where we continue to support graduates while giving them numerous and varied opportunities to give back. To this end, we are creating an alumni network with dedicated staff and are borrowing best practices from more established colleges. This begins with better tracking of our graduates and includes simple, well-branded post-graduation surveys to alumni (and their employers) that gauge satisfaction. We are keen to monitor the health and success of our graduates and are particularly interested in key drivers of ministry retention that we can address with training improvements. We understand that the first year of ministry is especially difficult and are committed to providing emotional and spiritual support for our graduates, using a small group format and supplemented by reunions, roundtables, and regional events to maintain critical relational connections. To this end, we provide accessible personal points of contact. We will also provide alumni with resources for continued professional development.
We are also increasingly tapping into our alumni’s desire to give back to Highlands College by providing varied opportunities to coach, teach, and serve as College ambassadors (e.g., in placement, recruiting, and fundraising). We believe it is essential for prospective and current students to experience and work with successful Highlands College graduates.
Although alumni functions will be distributed across our College, to ensure consistency in communications and coordination of actions, we will assign a single owner of alumni relations.