5 Takeaways from Hobsons Summer Institute 2019: Match & Fit Edition

Last month, more than 1,000 educators descended upon beautiful Marco Island, Florida, for the 2019 edition of Hobsons Summer Institute (HSI). Individuals’ goals for attending the conference were varied but were led by the opportunity to network with other professionals from across the country, learn best practices in expert-led sessions, and stay up to date on the latest education technology trends. Here are five of our big takeaways from the conference: 

  1. Craving collaboration. Collectively, people are craving cross-campus collaboration. Student success matters to higher education professionals! In fact, one session brought partners from admission together with their teammates from the student success offices across campuses and workshopped as members of small teams to identify areas of strength and opportunity. They then worked to create an action plan to take back to campus and share with leaders. Some ideas included a coordinating handoff better from admission to student success, cross-training across admission and student success and identifying owners of student success on campus—not just saying “everyone on campus is responsible” for it. 
  2. Connecting in-person. There is no substitute for connecting face-to-face. The college fair that helped kick off the first evening of HSI underscored the fact that there is simply no replacing the power of an in-person conversation. Bringing together higher education institutions and school counselors and facilitating a deeper understanding of what they do helps build a bridge over the admission desk and develop high-quality connections. Connecting with key student influencers, such as school counselors can help colleges and universities scale their approach to getting the message out about their amazing offerings.  
  3. Considering the why. Majors, location, and cost are the three most important considerations in students’ college searches, according to the new Naviance Student Survey results. Consider these top student fit criteria as you align your strategic enrollment goals to audiences. The majors and services your institution offers will help attract students who are more likely to enroll and meet their goals. 
  4. Curating reliable resources for research. The Naviance Student Survey also revealed that the top three tools that Naviance students indicated that they’re using to research colleges are: college websites, Naviance, and their families. Furthermore, 81% of Naviance 9th – 11th grade student users surveyed indicated that Naviance was “impactful” in their college search. The underlying theme of those top three resources is that they’re all trustworthy. Consider the content you’re sharing on (or with) each of these tools, as they are student go-to resources for reliable info—make it count! 
  5. Ensuring a voice. “Don’t focus on the movers and shakers, but instead on those who have been moved and shaken...give a voice to those who have had it taken away.” ~John Quiñones, HSI keynote speaker and ABC News Veteran, recounting advice from Peter Jennings. Education professionals are in a position to do just that. Supporting students in their life choices and helping them navigate the world of education, providing encouragement, support, and simply caring can make students realize that they are important, and they matter. Giving them this voice and support can help students realize their full potential and we all win. 

There were many more than five takeaways from this year’s conference, certainly too many to list in this brief post. That said, we hope you picked up some tips!  

Meanwhile, we’re already getting revved up for next year’s conference. You’re invited to join us at next year’s conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, from July 13-15, 2020. See you there! 




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