Admissions continues improving enrollment strategies

 

After facing low enrollment numbers last semester, the Office of Admissions is seeking ways to increase enrollment among current prospective students.

“There’s been a lot of different changes from 2009 until now,” said Morgan Wagner, an undergraduate admissions counselor.

Dr. King speaks to a group of prospective students on Discover Day. (Photo courtesy of Malone Admissions)

In 2009, former president Dr. Gary Streit hired a consultant firm that made a lot of changes to the way admissions reached prospective students.

“In the past we had travel territories where we would also travel to high schools and college fairs in those areas,” Wagner said. “With the model that the consultant firm brought in, it was based on the first letter of the student’s last name.”

This meant prospective students were assigned a counselor based on the letter of their last name.

“So we weren’t able to meet all of our students when we were out traveling,” Wagner said.

This hindered one of the main strengths admissions has with prospective students.

“I think a strength of our office always been the relationships that we have with prospective students and being able to tell the Malone story,” Wagner said.

The Office of Admissions has switched back to sorting prospective students by travel territory rather than last name.

Also under the consultant firm, Scholar’s Day and other various scholarships were eliminated for incoming freshmen.

On January 25, admissions brought back Scholar’s Day and 84 prospective students attended the event.

“It’s basically a scholarship competition for all students who meet the requirements for the honors program,” Wagner said. “So those students can come and compete for full-tuition scholarships.”

The admissions office has a tradition of ringing a gong every time a newly enrolled student pays a deposit. (Photo by Autumn Berry)

While participating in Scholar’s Day, prospective students learned more about the honors program and campus life.

“Under that previous consultant, he eliminated most of our print publications that we used, so we had very few things to send out to students,” Wagner said.

The Viewbook has been reinstated with a focus on “Dream, Discover, Do.” The Viewbook features current students and their stories.

“You can’t replace having things for them to read, or look at, or send them in the mail,” Wagner said.

Senior communication arts major Beth Kerlin has worked with admissions for almost two years.

Kerlin is a tour guide, a host for prospective students for lunch and helps with mailing out information.

“Basically, I function as a liaison in the admissions process between the university and the prospective students,” Kerlin said.

One of the new things Kerlin is a part of is a Facebook page for accepted students.

“In the past we tried to use separate social media networks that are apart from Facebook,” Kerlin said. “Then we decided rather than having them add an additional one when most of the students have Facebook, we would just use that medium as a way to connect with them.”

The Facebook page functions as an informal way for the Office of Admissions to reach interested prospective students.

“Once someone is accepted to Malone, whether or not they decided to come, they have an invitation to join the [Facebook] page,” Kerlin said. “We just ask questions, like ‘Are you buying stuff for your dorm room? What questions do you have?’”

Andrew Campbell, a freshman communication arts major, started working for admissions in September.

Campbell’s job consists of calling potential students to get them started in the process of applying and then giving friendly reminders after they have toured campus.

“They give us a written prompt to help explain what process to go through,” Campbell said. “The big emphasis is making sure you are friendly and courteous.”

So what happens when, after all the thought and care put into attracting students, someone finally says “yes” to Malone?

“When an admission counselor gets someone to pay a deposit, they have this gong in the back,” Campbell said. “They will hit it and it will ring.  Everyone cheers, because it means a student has decided to attend.”

 

Casey Stevens is a staff writer for The Aviso AVW.

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