Five Lessons from NAGAP ‘13

Posted: May 1, 2013


We just got back from a successful trip to the NAGAP Annual Conference in Orlando. Since this was our first time at NAGAP, we decided to take the opportunity to do what we do best: listen…and also to give away an iPad Mini…

Those of you who stopped by our booth know that we were busy interviewing attendees about marketing challenges and trends in their respective markets. BIG thanks to the following people (in no particular order) for sharing their thoughts!

What did we learn?

At VisionPoint, we believe the best way to understand people is to listen. We’re so committed to this idea that we wrote it into our company values: Knowledge is both given AND received. In the spirit of shared learning, here are a few themes we heard:

1. The economy is a challenge

There’s an overarching concern for the state of the economy and how its lack of stability impacts graduate degree enrollment. Prospective students are financially savvy; more than ever, they’re seriously considering the economic value of a obtaining a graduate degree. While some may argue that a shaky economy is a good thing for graduate enrollment (by encouraging students to further their education in search of jobs) not all graduate degrees lead directly to higher salaries…and for some, the financial impact is somewhat tenuous.

2. People like NAGAP

When asked if people had previously attended a NAGAP conference, most said yes. When we asked what brought them back, we heard praise for the professional development and the opportunities to share experiences with peers from across the country. Kudos to NAGAP for continuously creating an environment of openness and empathy.

3. Quality over quantity

Graduate admissions programs are striving to build applicant pools that aren’t just full of eager students, but are full of ‘right-fit’ students. Since most schools strive to create graduate programs of real consequence, they need students who can actually bring something to the table. Getting programs to buy into this concept can be difficult – especially when budgets are tight and every student impacts the bottom line.

4. Personal touch is still valuable

While many graduate programs have embraced emerging media such as social media, web and online advertising, there’s still significant value in personal connections. However, finding the right venues for making these intimate connections remains a challenge.

5. Everyone is facing the same (or similar) struggles

Given the competitive nature of graduate admissions, many programs find themselves facing the same challenges. We spoke to several attendees who feel their struggles take the backseat to those of their respective undergraduate programs. However, there’s something about having an entire national association behind you (and sharing in the same struggles) that’s validating. NAGAP provides a very unique opportunity to share struggles and collaboratively find ways to conquer them.

And the iPad winner is…

Congratulations to Dave Fletcher from Barry University who won our iPad Mini giveaway. Everyone who signed up for eduInsights, stopped by our booth or participated in the video survey received an entry. Thanks to everyone who entered to win!

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What did YOU learn at NAGAP?

For those of you who attended the conference, what was the best (or most useful) thing you learned (or overheard) while in Orlando? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

See ya’ next year!