Sunday, August 7, 2011

Congestion in college applications and admissions

The Chronicle of Higher Ed writes about changes in college admissions: Those Tweedy Old Admissions Deans? They're All Business Now

"More applicants doesn't necessari­ly mean better applicants, however. Four years ago, Mr. Allen decided to refine his recruitment strategy to emphasize quality over quan­tity. How? By shrinking the college's prospect pool. Since then, his office has done more to identify and engage students who are genuinely interested in the college.

"That move, coupled with the recession, has shrunk the college's application total. In the 2007-8 cycle, Grinnell received 3,900 applications; for this fall's freshman class, it received 3,000. During that time, however, Grinnell increased its enrollment of minority, low-income, and first-generation students, as well as those from other countries.

"This wouldn't have happened if apps had been skyrocketing, and we didn't know who all these applicants were," Mr. Allen says. "My experience helped me get off the treadmill of thinking that more applications are better. They're still important, but as a crude measure, they're not the most important thing."

"In other words, Mr. Allen had to re-evaluate his relationship with one of the most powerful numbers in his profession. He predicts that in a market­place saturated with messaging, colleges will need to rethink recruitment in the coming years. "The new enrollment manager," he says, "is going to have to take a more-sophisticated approach to pierce through all that stuff, to make an impression on students."

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