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Colleges are struggling to increase student retention rates. What would Walt think of the way staff, faculty, students and parents all interact? Walt Disney once said “do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring back their friends.” If Walt was to go back to college today, what might be some of his advice to colleges and universities?
1. Review the key processes of registration, admission and financial aid to streamline, make less complicated, and give staff a chance to build relationships with people, not just conduct transactions.
2. Bring a person who has never been to your institution onto your campus and let them help you identify where your signage is confusing and unclear.
3. Tell every staff person they must practice aggressive courtesy with students, co-workers, and visitors. This means smiling at others when walking through the campus, looking for lost students and before they ask you for directional help -you offer to help, following through on promises of timeliness and being available, making sure student knows the next step of the process they must go through.
4. Cleaning up the campus including restrooms, grounds, hallways, classrooms to ensure the environment is a pleasant place to be.
5. Treat each student as if they were a guest in your home and you are happy to see and make them feel welcome.
6. Treat co-workers with respect.
These six actions could transform your college campus to becoming a place students and employees want to be and they will tell their friends. There is no better way to market, than referrals, and when friends recommend friends, they are more apt to stay till graduation.

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