In the Northeast, the population of high school graduates applying to four-year universities has gone down. Among those graduates, increasing numbers of prospective students are looking at cost-effective options like community colleges and state schools. Of the group that is left, statistics show that even fewer would consider going to a Christian college such as Eastern University. The group of potential students that Eastern is left to work with is very small compared to other private colleges and universities. The Eastern Admissions team has been hard at work to combat this growing issue.
Over the last year and a half, several changes have been made to the strategies Admissions uses to reach prospective students. The Waltonian sat down with Michael Dziedziak, Executive Director of Undergraduate Enrollment, to talk about some of these changes. Dziedziak says that most of Eastern’s traditional undergraduate students (young, recent high school graduates) come from the Northeast United States. With enrollment down in this demographic, Admissions has been trying to “maximize exposure” by aggressively advertising in areas that have previously supplied the greatest number of incoming first-year students. He explains that part of the reason why many students do not come to Eastern is that they have not heard of it. This new strategy hopes to change that. In addition to this new push in advertising, Admissions has been targeting what Dziedziak calls “pockets” of people in regions of the county that do not tend to apply to Eastern. He adds, “It’s a process of getting someone who lives several states away onto a plane to come visit our school and then hope that some of those people decide to apply.” It is a daunting task, but Admissions has ambitious goals for increasing enrollment.
One of the forces driving these changes is the way Eastern is taking advantage of technology. The national trend for most colleges has been vast email campaigns. Current students enrolled at Eastern may remember being a part of such a campaign. To keep the pace with other universities, Eastern has also been emailing students in this way, but the Admissions Office has taken it a step further. Part of the job of Admissions is being proactive. Thus, part of their new strategy has been to contact students who have not necessarily expressed interest in applying but fall into several categories typical of an Eastern student. Admissions has also been using new recruiting software to expedite the application process.
After a recent decline in enrollment among traditional undergraduates, numbers have risen slightly this year. It is too early to tell if this is a direct result of these new strategies, but the hardworking individuals in Admissions are determined to see Eastern become increasingly competitive in the near future.
Source: Michael Dziedziak