We recognize that staffing best practices are often reduced to “hire more people,” a recommendation that runs counter to budget and resource scarcity in higher education. Where would investment in additional staff serve enrollment best? Recent staffing trends indicate that specialized positions are a good bet, and one example we see with greater frequency is a dedicated role for campus visitation.
Campus visit staffing best practices
1. Aim for 1.0 FTE responsible for overseeing campus visitation.
Ideally, this is a single person, but this role could be split into two 0.5 FTEs. We recommend staff responsible for campus visitation have limited travel responsibilities. According to our members, the individual(s) running campus visitation are more effective if they are on campus full-time because they remain up-to-date on logistics, they interact with more visitors, and they are available to the rest of the staff as needed. If you have never devoted FTEs to campus visitation, start with a 0.5 FTE commitment and use your visitor surveys and yield data to help build the case for further role specialization by finding improvements in key metrics including satisfaction, application volume, and yield.
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2. Have a dedicated back-up of at least 0.5 FTE who works with the main campus visit organizer.
This is especially critical in the case that a single FTE owns the entire program—having a second staff member who can step in if the main visit staff member is out of the office is critical to the success of all campus visit events, big and small. Additionally, administrative staff do not have the same burden as recruiters and admissions counselors, especially during peak seasons, so they can be helpful backup during those times.
3. Place at least 1.0 FTE of student staff (typically spread between 2-5 students) in supervisory roles to help manage peers and support enrollment work.
Some of the most effective campus visit programs leverage the expertise of their more senior student ambassadors by putting them in supervising positions. This both empowers the student staff and frees up professional staff time by reassigning activities such as scheduling, CRM data input management, and visitor outreach campaigns. Handing over higher level responsibilities to student staff looks different at every institution depending on compensation, organization structure, and the existing duties of student workers.