I often ask students riding on our elevators, “Why did you pick Harold Washington College?” Our downtown location and convenience top the list. An increasing number say that our business programs are of interest to them. Some like our faculty; others say they wanted to come to a diverse school. Word-of-mouth counts for a lot. Friends, parents, and siblings have all recommended us to students. Others have cited ‘the feel’ of the school.

Our enrollment is up, and we are working hard to retain the students who did enroll this fall. I am searching for those elements that will highlight what makes HWC attractive to prospective students. What is it about our programs attract you? What about that faculty member causes to you stay with us? Why did your friend recommend the school to you?

Recently, a very tall student (I would estimate 6′ 7″) walked onto the elevator. I looked up and him and asked why he had picked HWC.

“Do you want the real answer?” he asked, with a little challenge in his voice. “Of course,” I replied.

“Because I can’t fit under the desks at Truman.”

I’ll add that to my list of differentiating factors.

Published by Don Laackman

Leader with non-profit, higher education, and private-sector consulting experience.

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