Success is in partnerships

Going it alone is a recipe for failure

A university is filled with people doing incredible things. I’ve work in and around higher education professionals for 15 years. I’m constantly amazed by their ingenuity and willingness to share their lessons learned.

Enrollment Growth Hero game play

Ideas are just ideas without the support of others

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

Enrollment Growth Hero game play

Taking the time to shop an idea around before it is presented is required for success. Getting not only feedback from the primary audience but also anyone who will be living with its implementation.

At a college or university, enrollment initiatives can take years before results start rolling in. Because of this campuses are notoriously skeptical of ideas without legs.

Relying on outside experts can give ideas a boost. Organizations like Helix Education are in a unique spot, they interact with numerous institutions with similar goals and have been able to test and prove strategies.

Playing the game

Helix Education knows the key to success is partnerships. They know higher education so well, they created a game that speaks volumes.

They took their playbook and the struggles they’ve seen across institutions and brought it to life in a digital world you can play.

The game is really well done and even includes a secret if you’re enough of an explorer.

This is a must play for any higher education professional or anyone working at an institution that requires partnerships for an idea to be successful.

Enrollment Growth Hero

Do you have what it takes to level up your partnerships?


Play the Enrollment Growth Hero game and see if you have what it takes!

With this knowledge, your ideas can grow legs and allow you to run with them. Here’s to building support for your next idea!

Giving Medium a shot at living up to user expectations

Why Medium makes it to my daily reading list

Nick DeNardis Medium profile
My Medium profile

Last year I purged as many incoming requests for my attention as possible. Medium has become something I’ve adopted, enjoy and think it’s worth giving it a shot to stick around.

Video games or watching too many movies wasn’t the problem, to be honest I’ve never done much of either. It was the little things that stole my attention without even realizing it. The small things that I did habitually on a daily, hours or immediate basis that forced me to become deliberate about my time.

Things I’ve purged checking daily

  • Instagram, Twitter, Facebook timelines
  • HTML email newsletters
  • Push notification for basically anything on my phone

Things that have stood the test of time

  • Email marked as Primary
  • Nuzzle email digest
  • Quora email digest
  • Medium digest
  • Podcasts while driving/running

Medium is for stories, how to’s and personality

Personal stories, interviews and experiences define how opinions are shaped and Medium sets the perfect environment for these stories.

I’ve tried Pocket, Instapaper, and various other tools to strip away the cruft from sites to create the ideal reading environment. Medium accomplishes this without requiring me to leave the site.

Content curation on the Medium homepage and email have been spot on and they promise to make it better. For me it’s the combination of recommendations by friends, popular items from topics I follow and a few off the wall stories that I wouldn’t have searched out myself. This mix has made it feel far less like typical sites that focus on a descending list of popular articles, but more like a personalized newsletter.

Writing/cross promoting content on Medium

Many OG blogger, including myself, believe my content isn’t safe long term on Medium. They are profiting from me and if they shut down tomorrow all my content and following go *poof* without a way to redirect.

I still maintain my own domain, blog, and email list for content ownership but like others, attention and discovery are slim. The few articles I have posted to Medium include the standard “Originally posted at…” final line to let people know I am more than Medium articles.

This fear is something that Medium should embrace, it means people are putting hard work into the content they produce here. They don’t consider it throw away content and are conscious about their investment.

Hope for the future

I have hope that Medium will do the right thing and embrace content creators and consumers genuinely to squash these fears. I’m giving Medium a chance to succeed and you should too. It will be pretty clear in a few months with how many people vote with their feet (dollars).

Do students actually open the CD’s universities send them?

YouniversityMy brother is two years younger than me and I remember him getting College junk in the mail for his last two years of high school. I probably got all that same junk too, I just tossed it out since I already knew where I wanted to go.

Postcards, booklets, letters and CD’s. The paper products I expect but the CD’s really brought me back to the days when AOL would send 10,000 free hours every month. Brightly colored, sometimes reflective and always had a unique way to open them.

As colleges find more and more creative ways to get information to students and entice them to pay big bucks for a four year piece of paper do they really think a CD is going to accomplish this?

My issues with CD’s are:

Offline – Having the content offline, disconnected from the rest of the updated world is a huge draw back, information gets out of date quick, that 3 day postage plus 1-2 weeks before the student decides to look at it 2-3 programs could have been added/dropped. Students are use to their connected world and why would they want to leave it?

Takes Effort – It takes time and effort to unwrap and put in a CD and load up the content on it. What is the benefit to the student?

Waste – Producing the CD could take weeks or even months of resources from an already stretched staff. CD’s cost money to produce, not to mention all the trash it creates in the process.

An Alternative?

Respect the prospective student and the environment. Let your current students sell the school and use your programs and graduates as pillars to success. Crowd source their stories and thoughts about the school.

Sending content to students should done online if possible. Cost is almost nothing to produce and no shipping cost, only time is needed. Most of the content is usually found on essential sites anyways, admissions, transfer credit, registrar.

My prediction is that personalized online content is the way to go, find out as much about the student as possible, give them a personalized URL and tailor all the content to that student. Make them feel special, show them you care and they will be intrigued.

They will reward you ten fold. Either by coming to your great university or by telling you off. Telling you off being the most important, that is the only way you can get feedback, refine your approach and get more students.