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Recruiting strategy changes to target wealthier students

November 16, 2012

The admissions office is changing their recruitment strategy for post recession undergraduate enrollment. Two goals of the college are to increase the amount of students enrolled and to begin building financial stability.

“One of the things we did last year was ask students to do a more elaborate application process,” said President Mauri Ditzler.

An essay and two letters of recommendation were added to the application requirements for the college. The harder application deterred some prospective students from completing their application.

“Fewer students applied than we expected because we made it a little harder to apply,” Ditzler said. “If we looked at a typical yield in numbers, we actually would have had a very large class if we had the normal number of applications.” The freshmen class could have been 100 students larger if the essay and letter of recommendation had not been required.

The college has now made the essay and letters of recommendation optional. According to Director of Admissions Philip Betz, the amount of applications is up 79 percent from this time last year. There are currently 1,400 applications as compared to 800 in 2011 and 1,000 in 2010. The number of students who have been accepted has grown over 300 percent since last year. The freshmen class size in fall of 2011 was 341. The freshmen class size in fall of 2012 was 343, which was 50 to 60 students less than what the college anticipated would enroll.

“It was harder to admit last year because we required an essay and recommendations and those take longer to get in,” said Betz. “We were also short staffed [and] had fewer people to make those calls and connections, which is why our numbers are so different.”

The board of trustees voted to have funds released to add two admissions counselors to help in recruiting more applicants.

The Admissions office is on track to break the current record of applicants overall, which is 2,100 applications.

“We’re shooting for 2,200 (applications) and we’re on pace to break that,” Betz said. “For actual enrollment for first time freshmen, the goal is to get 390 to 400 students and an additional 50 to 60 transfer students.”

Focused recruitment was also a highlight of the admissions strategy by targeting the best high schools in the state.

“Our recruiting has historically been focused in the northern half of the state,” Ditzler said. “We would like to recruit outside the northern half of the state as well. It’s necessary for any college to have some of the students who can pay, if not the full tuition [then] close to the full tuition.”

The northern suburbs of Chicago have some of the best high schools in the state academically, which often times means that those students are likely to pay close to the full tuition. However, both President Ditzler and Philip Betz urged that the college’s first focus is on the quality of education for the students and benefiting from a diverse student body resembling the state of Illinois and the country.

The number of “American minorities” enrolled at Monmouth College has also risen. The total number of enrolled in the 2010 academic year was 221, in 2011 it was 232 and in the current year there are 305 “American minorities,” according to the Office of Intercultural Life.

Joe Florio
Photography Manager

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