First impressions matter. We put effort into our handshakes, our dress and even our posture when meeting someone new because we know these “little things” help create a positive experience. We want people to come away from any engagement with good feelings, building a strong foundation for future interactions.

For the modern campus, your digital experience is your handshake.

It’s not just a chance for learners to scroll through your flashy website, but a chance for them to see what it might be like to work with you. And as with a limp handshake or a slouched posture, a clunky…


It’s official: Non-traditional education is the new normal. The trajectory of 2020 has pushed almost all formal learning from the classroom to the bedroom, and Continuing Education divisions are acting as the failsafe for every school that’s shut its doors but would still like to be, in essence, a school.

While it’s nice to see CE divisions in the spotlight for a change, the quick shift to online learning has shown that most institutions weren’t prepared to put all their eggs in the digital basket. …


When COVID closes a door, it opens a window. As schools across North America grapple with how (and whether) to re-open, and debate internally about the quality of remote and online learning, students are considering alternatives.

In an environment where prospective students are behaving even more like customers in an option-rich market, their wandering eyes are landing on other schools’ home pages, social media channels and other online connections. Their institutions can’t serve them in the way they expected, so they’re looking for ones that can.

Pay Attention to Transfer Students

Nearly 40% of students enrolled in a postsecondary program…


Across the United States and Canada, unemployment rates are hitting historic highs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the stay-at-home orders issued in an effort to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, it’s not just higher education institutions who have had to recalibrate. Many businesses have had to lay off or furlough their employees to adapt.

As a result, over 30 million Americans filed unemployment claims in the six weeks following a state of emergency being declared. For context, the Great Recession in total led to 8.7 million job losses. The American unemployment rate in April 2020…


For years, the role of continuing education divisions on college and university campuses has been that of an outsider.

These divisions have historically operated on the periphery, always associated with the institutional brand but rarely leveraged to their fullest capacity. Instead, the tendency has been to think of CE units as cash-cows that help the institution fulfill its access mission while experimenting with potentially-useful innovations that could be rolled out across the rest of the institution.

Unfortunately, this reductionist mentality has led to some fundamental misunderstandings about the role, capacity and importance of these units in supporting the growth of…


Every industry and service across the world has been affected by the novel coronavirus, and the COVID-19 illness it causes.

At colleges and universities across North America, in response to government mandates for people to stay at home, great efforts have been made to change gears quickly and transition face-to-face programs to remote formats.

What’s important to recognize here, though, is the terminology. There’s a big difference between well-designed online education programming, and the fast actions taken by postsecondary institutions to respond to a pandemic.

“To be clear, delivering courses through alternative means doesn’t necessarily mean they are fully conducted…


Marketing practices in every industry have changed rapidly over the past decade.

Marketers are no longer focusing on quantity of content; the focus is on quality. They’re not plastering their brand in as many places as possible; the focus is on targeted messaging.

In short, marketers today are focused on delivering the right message at the right time to the right prospect. This mentality needs to become more common in higher ed, and especially among those offering programming aimed at non-traditional learners.

Non-traditional learners are highly discerning customers and it’s critical for marketers to ensure they’re meeting their prospective learners’…


Many folks start the New Year by taking stock of the good and bad in their lives, endeavoring to maximize the good and ditch the bad. This year, let’s ditch college rankings, which serve the few and provide an incredibly cloudy picture of a wildly complicated space.

I’m not even going to dive into the multiple instances of data-fudging that throw a wrench into an already shaky premise. Instead, I want to take on the premise itself.

The mechanisms we use for rankings are outdated, disconnected from the genuine needs of modern students, and aim to reward colleges and universities…


When we think about the companies that have completely redefined their respective industries over the past decade, a few significant examples come to mind:

  1. Netflix vs Blockbuster
  2. Uber vs Taxis
  3. Amazon vs Big Box Retailers
  4. Airbnb vs Hotels
  5. Apple vs the Music Industry

At the surface, the common thread between these giants is their creative approach to leveraging technology to get ahead. But digging just a little bit under the surface unveils a more significant truth:

All of these companies redefined their respective industries because they focused on delivering the best possible customer experience.

What set these companies apart and…


Colleges and universities must evolve to meet the needs of non-traditional students that make up the new face of higher education.

Traditional higher education is dead. Long live traditional higher education!

The Students Are Changing

Today’s student is no longer exclusively 18–22 years old, enrolling straight from high school. Instead, today’s student is more likely a parent trying to advance their career or start a new one while juggling multiple responsibilities.

It’s not just anecdote that proves this: the numbers back it up. Way back in 2002 we knew that 72% of undergraduate students who were receiving financial aid were in some way non-traditional. Just to clarify this stat further: that number does not include students enrolled in non-degree programs who…

Amrit Ahluwalia

Managing Editor of The EvoLLLution. To learn more about The EvoLLLution, watch our video: http://t.co/7iie1bRVeI

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store