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The BAKER GROUP


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The BAKER GROUP


"Maximize your school’s financial health, image, and quality. We can help you redefine the way you meet enrollment challenges." - CHB

 

Chris Baker literally wrote the book on enrollment management for independent schools. Since 1999 she and her associates have been working with independent schools to help them meet an ever more demanding enrollment climate. Baker has made it her mission to bring the professional strategic thinking and practices of enrollment management pioneered by leading colleges and universities to independent schools large and small. Along the way she has inspired and nurtured a new wave of the savviest admission leaders in the business. Working with The Baker Group is not only an investment in the financial health and sustainability of your school; it is an enduring investment in the people on your team.

Select image or scroll down to learn about our services.

Director Searches

Find your next Admissions Leader.

 

 

 

Leadership Conferences

Share and build your expertise.

Enrollment Strategies

Maximize your school’s financial health, image, and quality.

Admission Office Assessments

Get the data you need.

From the Enrollment Management Primer

"Enrollment management is more than admissions -  it is a strategic integration of admissions, retention, research and marketing. To thrive, schools must apply this big picture, synchronized approach.” Read more here.

 There are 8 measures of savvy enrollment management.    How does your school measure up?
 

 

 

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Enrollment Management


Develop data driven solutions.

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Enrollment Management


Develop data driven solutions.

"Enrollment management is a research based process that creates a synergy among recruitment, pricing and financial aid, academic affairs, student life, and constituent relations." - CHB

 

Enrollment Management Strategies

 

Developing an effective enrollment management strategy means integrating admissions, retention, research and marketing.  Our projects begin with an assessment of the necessary research that will enhance a school’s understanding of its current and potential new markets. We do this by identifying relevant economic, demographic and education trends, by evaluating the current admission operation and by making recommendations to strengthen and expand institutional marketing efforts.

Our electronic surveys, focus groups, and in-depth interviews provide an effective means to gather “directional” feedback from internal and external constituents. We most often recommend a comprehensive strategy that includes surveying the entire parent and student bodies.  Analyzing attitudinal feedback from current parents and students plays a critical role not only in more fully understanding a school’s enrollment picture, but also in viewing an institution’s strengths and weaknesses through an enrollment management lens.

The Sober Look

Take the Enrollment Management Quiz

Read Independent School Magazine article about Enrollment Management

Once tailored to a school’s specific circumstances, the quantitative research collects data that allows school leaders to compare constituent satisfaction levels and the strength of a school’s programs.  We segregate respondent answers by demographic subsets of the school’s population:  full pay students/financial aid recipients, day students/boarding students, and lower/middle/upper school students. Using this research, a school can bring clarity not only to how it is regarded by its own families, but also how the school is perceived in the broader market.  Our research identifies economic and demographic trends in the education marketplace.  Understanding both constituent satisfaction levels and broader market trends is critical for effective strategic planning, for the development of mission statements, the coordination of effective print and web messaging, and the conducting of successful fund raising campaigns.

Our recommendations are designed to assist the school leaders in framing how, by using the media and its improved understanding of their markets, it can plan effectively for the future.  Given the recent national downturn in admission activity and enrollment, our research can inform immediate tactical adjustments and longer term strategic direction.   

Our research provides school decision-makers with answers to specific enrollment management and marketing questions, and positions them well to guide their school’s internal decisions regarding admission and retention, financial aid allocation and tuition discounting, as well as marketing and public relations efforts. To organize, revitalize, and prioritize strategic and tactical decision making we collect and use data like that listed here.

See specific internal research described.

See specific external research described.

 

While the process was, at times, arduous, one cannot help but be amazed at the positive results. We contracted the Baker group for a multi-month engagement that focused on our admission and enrollment management processes, along with a strategic review of marketing and financial aid. The creation of action plans to improve operations infrastructure and develop “best practices” in student enrollment has been incredibly useful in fulfilling the school’s strategic goals in this vital area. A hearty thank you to Chris Baker and her team!
— Lance Conrad, Head of School, Chapel Hill Chauncey Hall School



 

 

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Admission Assessments


Optimize your operation. 

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Admission Assessments


Optimize your operation. 

"When it comes to self-awareness and development, schools - like their students - can get stuck. Getting stuck is not a problem; staying stuck is." - CHB 

 

Admission Office Assessments

 

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 With more than 50 years of experience in directing both independent school and college admission offices, our consulting team knows more about the independent school admission process than most anyone in the country.  Because we understand the unique impact that history, location, mission, and leadership can exert on how a school is perceived, we are able to assess a school’s admission office infrastructure, measure its relative market strength, and identify enrollment management challenges and opportunities.

Admission offices at independent schools need to be as externally focused on trends, market indicators and marketing as they are internally focused on their school’s day-to-day programs. We assist clients in achieving an appropriate external and internal balance to effectively market their schools with projects like the ones listed below.

Admission Office Assessments in the last two years have often produced outcomes like the following:

  •       Enrollment and operational goals set by the head of school and board of trustees.
  •       Admission and enrollment goals set by the admission office for the current and future years.
  •       A written plan of action describing specifically how the admission office will achieve its goals.
  •       A written report submitted at the end of each admission cycle to outline successes and shortfalls for the year, including a summary of the goals and objectives that were achieved.

 

 

 

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Admission Coaching and Retreats


Build your best team.

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Admission Coaching and Retreats


Build your best team.

“In times of change, learners will inherit the earth–the knowers will be beautifully prepared for the world that no longer exists.”  - Eric Hoffer, American writer

 

Admission Office Retreats

We have consistently received high praise for our success in building cohesive admission teams and instituting operational improvements when facilitating an admission office retreat.

The scope of our admission workshops and retreats depends entirely on the specific needs of a school’s admission and marketing staff. After reviewing basic admission data, we will advise a school on ways to focus their time together.  While some schools might choose to have a facilitator for an entire admission office planning retreat, others may direct their attention on the development, training or enhancement of a particular admission and/or marketing skill, such as interviewing, maximizing the applicant review process, or utilizing volunteers in the admission process. We develop the retreat agenda collaboratively with the Admission Director in order to meet an admission and marketing staff’s professional development needs and a school’s institutional advancement opportunities.

Admission Office Retreats often include:

  • A research foundation from our presentation of national, regional and school-specific admission and enrollment trends.
  • Synthesis of school related enrollment management, admission and financial aid research and summary of findings.
  • Overview of a school’s current market position.
  • Assessments of staff personalities and work styles
  • Development of a renewed sense of purpose and direction and an improved connection between admission staff.
  • Development of an admission office action plan with annual goals and objectives.




In the short term, the most valuable aspect of the work conducted by the Baker Group was the camaraderie that developed among the office staff and the admissions officers. We were all focused on the goals, and Chris helped bring us together. In the long term, the most valuable aspect of the work conducted by the Baker Group was the analysis of the admission statistics and the trends that she highlighted (both positive and negative), which helped us refine our process and improve our yield ratios.
— Mark Aimone, Associate head of School, Shattuck St. Mary's
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Director Searches


Find your next admission leader.

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Director Searches


Find your next admission leader.

"The Director of Admission must be positioned to be a scholar and guide with the Head, while being a strategic thinker, an analyst, and a tactician, informing other senior administrators, faculty and trustees on the internal and external trends impacting the school’s future." - CHB

 

Director of Admission Searches

The Baker Group directs searches for the senior enrollment officer and provides both search support and training to each school’s chosen hiring committee. Our approach to guiding schools through the search process for a senior admission professional includes:

  • Outline the search process for the senior enrollment officer.
  • Provide preliminary and ongoing support and counsel to the Head of School and/or director of search committee.
  • Assist in updating job description and create timeline and structure for candidate interview and visit process.
  • Assist search committee and admission staff to identify “ideal candidate” qualities.
  • Assist in creating and placing advertising in suitable publications.
  • Develop strategy for promoting the position among alumni.
  • Assist in outreach to candidates from both independent and college admission.
  • Assist in review of resumes and candidate screening resulting in recommendation of top six candidates for initial interviews, followed by recommendation of top two finalists after interviews have taken place.
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Perhaps more important than any other person on campus other than the Head of School, the Director of Admission needs to be a scholar and guide, a strategic thinker and analyst, a resource for other senior administrators, faculty and trustees on the internal and external trends impacting the school’s future. The admission director and the admission operation must play critical roles in an independent school’s strategic thinking and planning.

Because independent schools are so heavily dependent on enrollment to generate the major portion of their annual operating incomes, admission directors must be experienced professionals who are well informed about the shifts in thinking relevant to admission, marketing, the education landscape, the increased affordability challenges for families, and the impact all these elements have on independent school admission and future enrollment.

We assist schools to think more creatively, more energetically and more intentionally when they choose the senior enrollment officer of their school.

Active Director Searches

Linden Hall (PA) - Director of Admission
The Academy of Notre Dame De Namur (PA) - Director of Enrollment Management

 
Completed Director Searches (last two years)

The College Preparatory School - Oakland, CA
New Hampton School - New Hampton, NH
Cape Cod Academy  - Osterville, MA
Marin Academy – San Rafael, CA
Westtown School – West Chester, PA
Wilbraham and Monson Academy – Wilbraham, MA
Agnes Irwin School – Rosemont, PA
Tatnall School - Wilmington, DE

Hackley School- Tarrytown, NY – Director of Lower and Middle School Admissions 
The Gunnery - Washington, CT  
Lawrence Academy - Lawrence, MA 

 

Working with Chris Baker on the search for a new Dean of Admission was invaluable to me and to others at Exeter involved in the search. She is honest, thorough, knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with. We would give Chris and the Baker Group the highest recommendation.
— Tom Hassan, Assistant Head of School- Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH
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The Crow's Nest Institute


Share and build your expertise.

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The Crow's Nest Institute


Share and build your expertise.

"Whether you are new in your role as an admission director or are an experienced enrollment management head, our Crow’s Nest Institute and Chatham Experience will cultivate your talent and expertise and connect you with a meaningful network of colleagues." - CHB

2016 Crow's Nest attendees and faculty gather on the seaside steps of the Colony Hotel at the close of the conference.

2016 Crow's Nest attendees and faculty gather on the seaside steps of the Colony Hotel at the close of the conference.

From the Evaluations of 2016 Conference

Quality of The Crow’s Nest Institute - 4.9 out of a 5 point scale

·       Still the best conference. . I’ll keep coming.

·       Well arranged.  Well-informed speakers.  Top-notch admission professionals. Absolutely amazing.

·       This was so refreshing.  Professionally I was feeling burned out but this was rejuvenating.

·       I had high expectations and it lived up to them.

·       Outstanding quality and take away value.  Focused community/audience with incredible power to be ‘better together”

·       Excellent event.  Tons of learning.  Thank you.  Really appreciated the ‘smartness’ in the room.

·       This conference re-charged my inner captain.  I am excited to get back to work and apply what I have learned.  A fantastic, informative conference.  THANK YOU.

·       I always leave feeling valued personally and professionally. I also come a bit tired and leave energized and excited.  Most of all I find all three of you inspiring models who I can call on.  Thank you.

·       Thank you so much for this deeply insightful collegial and restorative experience.  I believe it will be transformational for me along with many others.

·       Thank you, Chris, Scott and Monique for your leadership and support of all we are doing on behalf of our schools.

The 2016 Crow’s Nest Institute concluded on June 30, 2016 in Kennebunkport, Maine. 

The Crow’s Nest Institute is known as the nation’s premier forum for experienced Admission Directors to be supported in their role as their school’s senior admission and enrollment management leader. The Institute is designed to help senior admission professionals grow personally and professionally by exploring solutions to challenges in the ever-changing marketplace. 

For seventeen years, independent school admission leaders who have attended Crow’s Nest have returned to their campus with critical information necessary to develop long-term strategies to sustain school enrollment. Our 18th annual Crow’s Nest will be the perfect opportunity for you  to refresh your perspective and expand your thinking about your role in Admission. See a list of recent participants.

A small group session on the porch at Crow's Nest Institute.

A small group session on the porch at Crow's Nest Institute.

From the Accolade Archive

From Previous conferences

 

“This is an amazing event! I feel energized and proud to be in admissions and I’m grateful that I made the time from my busy schedule to relax and reflect. I so needed this three days at Crow’s Nest. Thank you!”

 “The intimate size, relaxing location, and inspiring agenda make Crow’s Nest a more valuable experience than any other program I have attended.”

 “The location lends itself to being able to relax, renew and refresh- something that helps free the mind to consider other perspectives and to take a different view”

 “Terrific variety, new ideas, cutting edge”

 “Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful”

 “The faculty is excellent, each adding something different”

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The "Chatham Experience"


Share and build your expertise.

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The "Chatham Experience"


Share and build your expertise.

"Whether you are new in your role as an admission director or are an experienced enrollment management head, our Crow’s Nest Institute and Chatham Experience will cultivate your talent and expertise and connect you with a meaningful network of colleagues." - CHB

The Wequassett Inn, current home of the "Chatham Experience", in Harwich, Cape Cod.

The Wequassett Inn, current home of the "Chatham Experience", in Harwich, Cape Cod.

The 2016 "Chatham Experience" occurred from April 25-26, 2016.  See you next April!

The 2016 “Chatham Experience,” the 22nd year, took place April 25 and 26.  Directors of Admission of New England independent secondary schools who participated thought it was, once again, a resounding success!

In April 1994, 23 independent school directors of admission from the Northeast gathered at the Chatham Bars Inn for the inaugural “Chatham Experience.” The program’s first agenda included a review of the admission season, an assessment of regional trends and discussions focused on issues affecting admission. Just as important during the two-day program was the collegiality that was created among the participating schools. See a list of "Chatham Experience" participants.

Twenty-two years later, the New England based group of Directors of Admission has nearly doubled, we have moved to Harwich on the Cape and the agenda remains focused on the evolving important issues of the day affecting secondary school admission directors. The collegiality within the profession has continued to grow.

 

 

From the Accolade Archive

 "A great experience with terrific professionals in a beautiful setting."

 "Always the best professional experience of the year for me!"

 "Chatham experience has really helped me to see the bigger and exciting areas of admissions that I don’t have access to in my school."

 “Bravo! Another triumph!”

 “Best ever! Lots of good energy!”

 "Fun group."

 "Great for first time, very informative."

 "Best ever! Personality of group was great!"

Move to The Crow's Nest Institute

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Our Client List


In our 16 years, we have served over 600 schools.

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Our Client List


In our 16 years, we have served over 600 schools.

Baker Group Clients

Alphabetical Listing of Baker Group Client Schools and Collaboratives 

* Clients who provided photographs for this site

 

Abington Friends School Jenkintown, PA

Agnes Irwin School-Rosemont, PA

Assoc. of Indep. School Admission Profess. 

Boston University Academy-Boston, MA 

Brearley School, New York, NY

Brooks School- Andover, MA

Brookwood School- Manchester, MA

Buckingham, Browne & Nichols - MA

Cape Cod Academy, Osterville, MA

Cardigan Mountain School.-Canaan NH

Carlisle School-Martinsville, VA

Chatham Hall- Chatham,VA

College Prep School- Oakland, CA

Collegiate School-New York, NY

Cushing Academy- Ashburnham, MA 

Dana Hall School-Wellesley, MA

Dedham Country Day - Dedham, MA

Derryfield School-Manchester, NH

Emma Willard School- Troy, NY

Falmouth Academy-Fallmouth MA

Fessenden School – Newton, MA

Fountain Valley- Colorado Springs, CO

Frind's Central Schooll-Wynnewood, PA

Friends School Haverford-Haverford, PA

Governor’s Academy- Byfield, MA

*Groton School- Groton, MA

Havergal College-Toronto, Canada

Hawken School-Cleveland, OH

Hopkins School- W. Hartford, CT

Hill School-Pottstown, PA 

Hotchkiss School- Lakeville, CT

Independent Day School- Middletown, CT

Independent Schools of Northern

       New England 

Lakefield College-Lakefield ON, Canada

Langley School-McLean, VA

Lawrence Academy- Groton, MA  

Lincoln School- N. Providence, RI

Loomis Chaffee School- Windsor, CT

Meadowbrook School-Weston, MA

Malvern Preparatory School-Malvern, PA

Marin Academy-San Rafael, CA

McCalllie School- Chattanooga, TN

Masters School- Dobbs Ferry, NY

Inly School- Scituate, MA

Kingswood-Oxford School- Hartford, CT

Milton Academy- Milton, MA

New Hampton School- New Hampton, NH

National Cathedral School- Washington, DC

New England Boarding Schools Collaborative

Newman School- Boston, MA

Noble and Greenough School- Dedham, MA

Notre Dame de Namur-Philadelphia, PA

Notre Dame de Sion-Kansas City, MO

Northfield Mt. Hermon School- Northfield, MA

North Yarmouth Academy- North Yarmouth, ME

Oak Knoll School-Summit, NJ

Penn Charter School-Philadelphia, PA

Perkiomen School- Pennsburg, PA

*Phillips Academy-Andover, MA

Phillips Exeter Academy-Exeter, NH

Pinepoint School- Stonington, CT

Pomfret School- Pomfret, CT 

Ravenscroft School-Raleigh, NC

Sacred Heart Schools of San Francisco- CA

Sage School, Newport Beach, CA

Shady Hill School-Cambridge, MA

Shawnigan Lake-Victoria, BC Canada

Shipley School-Bryn Mawr, PA

St. George’s School- Newport, RI

St. John's School-Houston, TX

St. Mark’s School-Southborough, MA

St. Paul’s School- Concord, NH

St. Timothy’s School- Stevenson, MD

Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart-  MD

Tabor Academy- Marion, MA

*Thacher School- Ojai, CA

Tilton School- Tilton, NH

University of Chicago Lab Schools- Chicago, IL

Waynflete School- Portland, ME

Westtown School-Westtown, PA

Winsor School- Boston, MA

Woodberry Forest School- Woodberry Forest, VA

Worcester Academy- Worcester, MA