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Admissions department successfully bringing up enrollment numbers

By Emily Park
On April 28, 2012


Since fall, the admissions department worried about low numbers of incoming freshman. As the year comes to an end, the gap between needs and realities is closing and showing significant progress.

Suzanne Sharp, vice president of strategic enrollment, said since Stephens Life last checked with the admissions department, enrollment numbers have increased steadily.

Changes enacted by the admissions department have proven successful, as focused effort has been put into raising enrollment numbers. 

Sharp said numerous initiative have been undertaken, which includes extending office hours for student telecounselors to make phone calls as well as offering scholarship opportunities and encouraging more prospective students to visit campus.

Andrew Magaña, admissions ambassador, said many of the changes have created a positive effect for Stephens. Although Magaña said his goals and strategies have not changed considerable from the beginning of the year, he has learned that with greater personal contact he is able to have conversations with students to see if Stephens is the right fit.

He said spring registration is a positive change to get students excited about getting on campus.

Internal changes in the admissions department, like bringing on a team of "new players" is working to increase enrollment numbers.

Sharp said there is a large focus on following up every applicant, as well as making sure their file is complete and financial aid is packaged.

"Paul Gordon, our director of financial aid, is meeting daily with all the admissions ambassadors to see what kind of support they need in making contacts and how that ties financial aid into it," Sharp said. "He's really lending a hand in that regard for closing the deal."

Sharp said she is working alongside Amy Gibson on a communication flow to head start the number of inquiries for the incoming class of 2013 that integrates regular mail, email as well as delivering messages via telephone and text.

The pool of potential students for 2013 has increased and though they might not live in the Midwest, Sharp said they have a number of states they target that have traditionally been good markets.

Magaña said because the number of graduating high school seniors is low, private schools, especially women's colleges, are feeling the pressure of low enrollment numbers.

Because of this, Stephens is becoming strategic about where they travel and focus enrollment efforts to get the greatest effectiveness and generate the highest yield.

On the other side of admissions, the number of incoming transfer students is doing well compared to years past.

"It's an expanding market," Sharp said. "We have a designated admissions ambassador who works only with transfer students and she works to build the relationships with the community colleges and two year programs to facilitate the transfer process."

Sharp said the goals for the admissions department for 2013 have not been established, but "the idea is to grow."

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