Admissions revamps recruitment methods

Dorothy Wickens

Lawrentians may have recently noticed or participated in the latest poster surveys around campus in Downer and Lucinda’s. The posters were put on display by the Office of Admissions to obtain students’ feedback about possible directions for new recruitment publications. The office is currently in the process of revising the materials used to promote Lawrence to prospective students.
The admissions staff is working with The Lawlor Group, a communications consulting
company based in Minnesota that works exclusively with private colleges across the Midwest, helping them to revise and update their recruitment materials. Representatives of TLG interviewed students
and faculty on campus in October to gain a better sense of Lawrence and what should be promoted to prospective
students. Ken Anselment, director of admissions, and Steve Syverson, dean of admissions and financial aid, met with the TLG staff two weeks ago to prepare the themes and concepts that were presented on the posters last week. After the success of the poster surveys for the new campus center, the admissions office decided to use this method to get some student opinions about the various ideas. “As we expected from Lawrence students, we got some really interesting, creative and helpful
feedback,” said Syverson.
As part of the ongoing discussions with TLG, the admissions office is carefully considering its use of print media versus electronic media. An increasing number of prospective students seem to be exploring
colleges without ever contacting the admissions office to request information. In 2003, 16.8 percent of Lawrence’s applicants
had never officially contacted the school prior to submitting their applications.
In 2005, that figure had increased to 25.4 percent. This, of course, means that prospective students are doing their investigating
on the website. From an effective, as well as environmental standpoint, the admissions office would like to make more information available on the Web site. For instance, Syverson said he would like to put an interactive map of campus on the Web site, through which prospective students could click on the different buildings
and take a virtual tour of the building and programs within, possibly including short video clips of students and faculty in the classroom. This could also include residence halls and athletic buildings.
Of course, this move toward more electronic media does not mean the end for unsolicited mailings. “We will start shifting the center of gravity away from printed media in favor of electronic media,” said Syverson. “We will still be leading with printed materials, but more of the subsequent
communication with students who show an interest in Lawrence will be with electronic media.” They are thinking about using more postcards with stories from students that could be specific to prospective
students’ interests.
The revision of recruitment publications
is not in response to a lack of interest
in Lawrence; the admissions office revises their materials “every few years to keep things current,” says Syverson. “We’re going to set a new record for applications this year, just like we did last year.”
The Office of Admissions is still in the process of consulting and making decisions about some of these new media options; the new printed materials will be out later this spring.

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