Enrollment workgroup prioritizes suggestions

Kalyn Hayslett, Editor-in-Chief

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Workgroup No. 2, charged with analyzing Eastern’s marketing and enrollment, ranked their suggestions separately and compiled them into one prioritized list during its meeting Thursday.

Members use the four categories — targeted investments; improvement planning; decreasing cost and increasing efficiencies; and outsourcing or consolidation — to guide their recommendations along with using interviews and academic research articles.

The group focused on improving Eastern’s brand and making admissions and recruitment efforts more personal.

Josh Norman, director of enrollment management data analysis and reporting, said focusing on the public’s perception of Eastern is important when trying to rebrand the university.

Workgroup chair Jody Stone, senior associate director of housing, said using the positive attributes like safety should be a part of the rebranding strategy.

“I feel like our safer community could overshadow the feeling that is there is not much to do,” Stone said. “I know that perception is out there, and I do not believe that it is true.”

Stone suggested rebranding the Gateway program because it is a beneficial program; however the name does not match its objectives.

Stone said it would not be the workgroup’s place to change the name, but they will reach out to the department to help them.

“The word ‘gateway’ is like a way in, but (what) we do with that program is equip students so they can thrive here,” Norman said.

He said making sure the program has the brand of a name that reflects that mission is important.

Besides rebranding, the workgroup also talked about marketing strategies.

One of the trending marketing schemes is retargeting, Stone said.

Retargeting is tracking what prospective students are interested in. When the student goes to other websites, then the Eastern website will pop up on their screen.

There are already places on campus that become recruitment teams by adjusting some of the current student employment.

“Looking at current students calling prospective students. Looking at my department, we have desk assistants, (but) half the time they are not very busy,” Stone said.

He said the desk assistants still need to be present, so having them call five people every day could help create a recruitment team.

The members recognized that the Admissions Office could use more help with recruitment by involving current students and faculty.

Norman said creating an Eastern advocate, or a student or faculty member who would be a point of reference for prospective students, would make the students feel instantly connected.

“We brought that recruitment to that micro-level,” Norman said.

He said giving students personal attention and creating a relationship could help them reap rewards until they graduate.

One admissions representative each is currently responsible for keeping in contact with over 100 prospective students.

The group recommends cutting the number of students they are responsible for.

The group wants to implement a structure that ensures news inquires get a call within seven days.

Greta Dieter, a senior political science major, said she enjoyed doing a recruiting-centered service project during a National Residence Hall Honorary meeting that was sponsored by the Office of Civil Engagement and Volunteerism.

The project included writing postcards to prospective students explaining why the current student decided to attend Eastern.

These are the recruiting efforts that the workgroup would want to encourage.

 

Kalyn Hayslett can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]