Eastern reaches out to area high schools

Bob Galuski, Editor-in-chief

In an effort to bring more awareness to Eastern, the university will engage local high schools.

Chris Dearth, the director of admissions, said there was a need to re-establish some relationships in the local area, which he defines as an hour distance from campus.

“We’ve been trying to be a little more visible there,” he said. “So our admissions counselors will do the visits, meet with students, meet with their student counselors.”

Another initiative started for local high schools is to invite more people to campus to make them more aware of Eastern, as well as on-site admissions programs at the schools.

Dearth said counselors will go to high schools, meet with the students and give them an admissions decision on the spot.

“It’s been very popular,” he said. “We’ve seen some great numbers from our local schools. It’s something we think has built very good relationships between the schools.”

Dearth also said the admissions department would be re-launching student appreciation events for the high schools.

“We had done this several years ago, but for some reason had gotten away from it,” Dearth said.

During the winter or early spring, the plan is to host different events for different area high schools. Some ideas were to bring admitted students to campus, and have it center around a basketball game or a different kind of event on campus, and have the students incorporated.

Dearth added the plan was also to invite current students who graduated from those high schools as well, and try to get everybody involved.

“Students in the local area, a lot of times, will hear about EIU from friends or parents or other people, and they get these perceptions about the institution,” he said. “And our approach has been to keep telling them what we’re all about, what we offer, and to encourage them to come and visit the institution and set aside all of those perceptions they have.”

He said he also wants students to come through and visit the admissions programs and hear what Eastern has to offer, whether the student is from the local area or “from three hours away.”

“We want them to hear that message,” he said.

He said some families might believe community college is the better option because of the affordability factor, however, by re-establishing ties with local schools, he said he hopes to convey different plans to help families afford college.

And while the focus is shifting to area high schools, Dearth said areas such as Chicago still need attention.

The population in Chicago is a focus for a lot of schools, and should be for Eastern as well, he added.

“If we’re going to hit our numbers, we need to make sure we have a presence in Chicago,” he said. “But that does not mean to forget about the population of the local area.”


Bob Galuski can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].