Enrollment swells to record numbers

Written by Tanner Clarke

With the increase in student population to a record 2,956, the Admissions and Recruiting staff members have a huge job ahead of them.

Along with the growing population on campus over the past few years, there has also been an increase in the number of prospective students still in high school visiting UMHB every day. This accumulation of interest has the 10-person staff excited and ready for the future.

Director of Admissions and Recruiting Brent Burks is emphasizing strategic ways of going about the difficult task of contacting more students than last year with the same number of staff.

They are using tools like tours, Sader Days, Cru Camps, Preview Weekend and outside sources to target more prospects.

“Without student involvement those things wouldn’t happen,” Burks said, emphasizing the important role that current students play in the recruiting process.

“Families want to see more face time with current students.”

Another thing that helps the staff is “student recruiters.”

“(Many students) become recruiters after they enroll.When you have a good experience, you want to tell people about it,” Burks said.

The older methods of recruiting are still being used and are just as effective and helpful to the staff. Travel season for the Admissions and Recruiting staff is still a good way to build relationships with students interested in UMHB.

October and November, the Admissions and Recruiting staff travel to all parts of Texas telling people about the university at college fairs and other events.

The biggest focus for the staff is interacting and talking to more prospective students but maintaining the personal touches that have been inviting to many students in the past.

Burks said, “One thing we have not sacrificed at all is the customer service and face-to-face value that we think makes Mary Hardin-Baylor special and sets us apart.”

The challenge of maintaining the balance between the personal touches of a small university and the growing number of students visiting campus is one that the Admissions and Recruiting staff is stepping up to.

Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management Gary Lamm is looking at new ways to recruit students. Some of the areas are utilizing social networking sites and the UMHB website for recruiting as well as getting a new recruiting video to show potential students.

A partnership with other departments on campus has helped the Admissions and Recruiting staff in maintaining the personal touch into the student’s admissions experience. A message or contact from a certain college “goes a lot further than we can do,” Lamm said.

“We are just the Admissions and Recruiting office. We rely on so many other areas on campus tozhelp us out with our recruiting,” Lamm said.

Some of the things that really help out with recruiting are the different colleges, the financial aid office and the student organization SearchCRU.

Both Burks and Lamm had good things to say about student involvement in recruiting and how SearchCRU has put a “student face” on recruiting. It is a young organization but has done some great things on campus and serves as the bridge from admissions to the campus, according to senior social work major and current SearchCRU president Kelsey Hiett. With the growing number of students visiting campus the group has stepped up to work hard on new ways of interacting with students.

“We are changing to meet the needs . . . of the prospective students,” Hiett said. “We definitely have some fun things planned for this year.”

More tours on Saturdays, new ways of doing Sader Days, and a continued presence in Preview Weekend are some of the areas that SearchCRU is becoming more involved in.

“If it wasn’t for SearchCRU there would not be as many freshmen . . . the admissions office does an excellent job . . . getting people here,” Hiett said. “But without SearchCRU, the recruiters wouldn’t be able to get as many people on campus and through tours as they can with SearchCRU’s help.”

Author: The Bells Staff

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