This archived article was written by: Jonathan Fox
Though little, USU Eastern has big plans. The institution has put a great deal of effort and funds, into an aggressive growth strategy. The new branch at the college, known as the Welcome Center, is a big part of that effort. The newly formed Welcome Center consists of four staff members: Greg Dart – director of enrollment services, Kevin Hurst and Wade Arave – admissions advisors, and Jessica Prettyman, as well as 20 student ambassadors. Their main focus: recruitment. The goal is to put Utah State University – College of Eastern Utah on the map, and to help the school grow in both size and prestige. The school has issued its Four-in-Four campaign in which the student body is increased to 4,000 students in four years – by 2017. To accomplish this, Director Greg Dart has put together an extensive recruitment plan.
Over 50 pages in length, the plan treats everything from the new way in which data will be collected from prospective students, to how those prospective students will be found, and from where they will come. It includes specific recruitment tactics that will be employed to help build the Eastern brand, and make it memorable.
The plan makes data collection more efficient in the way that whenever possible, paper is eliminated from the application process. At any recruitment event, rather than have stacks and stacks of paper, iPads are the means by which applications are filled out. This does two things. First, it eliminates the step where all the paper data has to be entered into the system, making it a much more efficient process. Second, it creates an image for the institution. It shows that Eastern is cutting edge, and is up to date with the world. It may seem small, but small things add up, making a lasting impression for a prospective student.
With everything done electronically, follow-up phone calls by student ambassadors happen much sooner and information can be provided in a friendly and efficient manner.
But faster communication is only the beginning. The recruitment plan includes a number of tactics that are used in a variety of locations to bring students to USU Eastern. These tactics include bringing students to campus and showing them what it feels like to be an Eagle. The primary tools for this are campus tours and Eagle Experiences, where students visit Friday night and stay until Saturday morning. If the students can be brought to campus, they will see what being an Eagle is all about.
Traveling to off-campus locations is another way to take the message of Eastern to prospective students whereever they may be. Off-campus promotions include high school visits, open houses and meeting with high school counselors.
In all of these visits, students can apply directly and have the application fee waived, as well as receive scholarships on the spot. The goal is to cater to the students, to help them know everything that they need to know in order for them to make an informed decision about their higher education.
These activities are taken throughout Utah, as well as to other key locations outside of the state. Part of the plan is defining what percentages of students will come from where.
Perhaps the best part of the plan is the versatility of it. Every year in July, the plan is reviewed and revised according to need. With detailed planning, a little fortune and a big vision, USU Eastern will earn recognition and more and more students will take advantage of what this great institution has to offer.