bootcamp + pre-conference Sessions

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Presented By

Gretchen Foster, Admissions Director

Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff, NE

Why you should attend

If the hiring process for admissions counselors and other staff members is the first step in creating a unified, professional admissions culture, the Admissions Bootcamp (initial orientation and training) is the critical second step.


Creating professional admissions counselors and other staff members is an on-going, year(s)-long process that is both time consuming and necessarily modular. Ultimately, creating a unified, professional admissions culture may well define whether you will be able to meet the “numbers” hurdles that most of our institutions continue to challenge us with. The idea of a unified culture also may well be the telling influence in whether your staff “newbies” will become true teammates instead of short-term filler-employment until that job they really wanted (or pays more) comes calling.

Join us to discuss one institution’s approach to orientation and training (best-foot-forward techniques and philosophy), and bring your own thoughts and successful techniques to share how you approach “the basics” for building a unified staff. We’ll cover such things as:
• Our institutional recruitment philosophy
• Admissions counselor/staff “professionalism”
• “You ever get a second chance to make a first impression.”
• Who is your customer? What comprises quality customer service? How do you identify the customer’s expectations/hot-buttons?
• When prospects/customers are on your turf…on-campus visits
• When you’re on the customers turf
• Travel tips
• The importance of a healthy lifestyle, especially with a challenging travel schedule
• Professional communications
• Building a training manual

Presenter Bio

Gretchen Foster is the Director of Admissions at Western Nebraska Community College (WNCC) in Scottsbluff, NE and branch locations in Sidney, NE and Alliance, NE. With over 30 years’ experience in higher education admissions, Gretchen is quick to point out that it has been anything but a year’s experience repeated 30 times. She has worked at most of the college and university types – public and private, selective and open, very small to large, community college to four-year. Her career path has gone from her alma mater Elon University (NC) to Albright College (PA) to Miami University (OH) to Fort Lewis College (CO) to Dana College (NE) to WNCC (NE).

She is committed to recruiting one student at a time and trying to guide each student to the “best” place for that prospect – even if it is a different institution, and she expects her staffs to do the same. She is also fiercely committed to developing all levels of those who work with her to put them in the best position for advancement, either in their current institution or elsewhere.

Gretchen lives in Scottsbluff, where she is a member and past-President of the Kiwanis Club. She is also a member of St. Francis Episcopal Church. She and her husband of almost 27 years live with their two “kids”: Emma, a 7-year-old Landseer Newfoundland, and Sachi (“Boundless Joy”), an almost one-year-old rescue Lab mix.

Presented By

Dr. Jim Black, President and CEO

SEM Works in Greensboro, NC


Mega trends causing the disruption occurring in higher education will be described along with their specific implications for small colleges. Following the review of trends, the presentation will shift to possible solutions designed to seize opportunities and mitigate risks. While many of the proposed solutions are beyond the direct control of enrollment management, admissions, and retention professionals, we will explore how you can influence significant change at your institution. As with any industry disruption, small colleges have two options of how to respond—become a victim or innovate and lead through the disruption. Industry disruption can be an extremely positive phenomena for your institution, your students, and you professionally. Find out how.

Presenter Bio

The president and CEO of SEM Works, Dr. Jim Black, is an internationally recognized expert in enrollment management as well as in change management. Dr. Black has published five books and numerous articles and book chapters and has consulted with companies such as Microsoft, Blackboard, and the SAS Institute. Higher education consulting clients have included over 500 two-year, four-year, public, and private institutions.

Presented By

Neil K. Clark, Founder

Neil Clark College Counseling in Marietta, GA


Practical suggestions on how to use high school counselors in your recruitment program will be presented. The discussion will include a range of activities to enhance your institution's visibility in your top feeder schools. You will leave with a list of new ideas and recruitment activities