Perspectives on the May 1 Deadline From Former Roanoke College President Mike Maxey

photo of mike maxey

Former Roanoke College president, Mike Maxey, visited the MARKETview office this week to discuss the incredible pressure May 1 puts on admissions and financial aid teams nationwide.  

Having served as the Vice President for Admissions Services for 17 years before becoming the college’s eleventh president in 2007, Maxey had a unique perspective.  

“No office has the crescendo of pressure that an admissions office does,” he said, contrasting it with his experience as president. “The presidency is relentless pressure, but it is spread across the year.”  

He focused the conversation on several key factors driving the nervousness campus leaders feel this time of year:  

Predictive models are less reliable than ever before, yet more necessary.  

As stimulus money runs out and residual effects of COVID on enrollment accrete, regression-based models are proving to be faulty. Maxey said that once upon a time, he could reliably land the class within +/- 3% of the enrollment target, but that’s a taller task these days.  

“This is one reason leaders are looking to MARKETview. We assume your modeling power is far more predictive than what we could come up with on our own.”  

Former Roanoke College President Mike Maxey

Jobs are on the line.

Maxey reminded our team that May 1 is more than a date on the calendar. If admissions fail and enrollment targets are not met, livelihoods are at stake.  
“Our teams are trying to serve students, so we need people confident in their employment to do this well,” he said. “There’s that much at stake.”  
He connected this to the importance of our work as external partners and our responsibility to support our partner presidents and admissions teams.  
“You’re doing things we couldn’t do on our own better than we could do them,” said Maxey. “We have a great reliance on you and your work.”  

The presidency hasn’t changed, but the environment has. 

As a result of the headwinds, Maxey said presidents are feeling the heat and are even more dependent on admissions. He stated that the average presidency is now only 5.9 years, according to an American Council on Education study published earlier this month. This is down from 8.6 years in 2006, just one year before Maxey assumed the role at Roanoke College. He explained that many presidents leave, fail, or grow weary due to recruitment challenges.  
“The presidency hasn’t changed, but the environment has,” he said. “It’s a relentless kind of pressure.”  

But it’s not all doom and gloom on campuses these days. When asked what made him optimistic about the future of higher education, Maxey said, “What we do is still noble. We change lives. We aren’t going away, but we will have to change.”  

Webinar: The Aftermath of May 1 – The Biggest Surprises of the Cycle

This webinar will discuss the key deposit trends that emerged in 2023, identify the year’s most productive inquiry sources, and shed light on what this might mean for future cycles.

Join us on May 10 at 3 p.m. EDT.

Mike Maxey served as Roanoke College’s president for 15 years, retiring in 2022. The MARKETview team is most grateful he was willing to spend time with our team and will share more about his visit in a couple of upcoming blog posts.  

Image courtesy of Roanoke College.