As high school seniors eagerly check their mailboxes for acceptance letters, colleges are doing everything they can to lure potential students to their schools, local directors of admissions said Monday.
Rob Blanchet, director of admissions at the State University College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill, said the college has sent acceptance letters to 2,332 students. Based on previous years, about 45 percent of those students will choose Cobleskill. Blanchet called this the “conversion rate.”
There are many different things that colleges do to attract students, Blanchet said. First, colleges often personally reach out to accepted students. At SUNY Cobleskill, the office of admissions has been working especially hard at its outreach efforts.
“We’re increasing our social media presence and using email and other electronic methods to reach out and encourage students to come here,” Blanchet said. “We also travel to high schools and college fairs to talk face-to-face with students.”
Karen Brown, director of admissions at the State University College at Oneonta, said outreach includes making phone calls to students and their parents, mailing information, touching base via email and providing a Facebook group that admitted students can join called “SUNY Oneonta Class of 2018.” The college also gives tours to parents and prospective students every day.
The most effective way colleges get students to choose them is by encouraging visits, Blanchet said. It’s an “extremely important” way to see whether a college is a good fit for someone, he said.
“You wouldn’t buy shoes before trying them on,” Blanchet said. “Visiting colleges is similar, but on a much bigger scale. This is one of the biggest commitments of their lives.”
Administrators at the University of Scranton will likely be glad to hear that Patrick Brown, a senior at Delaware Academy Central School in Delhi, has decided to attend their college. Brown said he applied to five other colleges, including SUNY Oneonta, but wanted to attend a school that’s farther away. He made his choice after visiting the Scranton campus, he said, where the employees seemed caring and there was a good program to help students decide on a major.