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Colleges are Working to Enroll Students, and Keep Them

662,000 fewer students enrolled in college this year than in 2021.

As college enrollment declines and views towards college education shift, many colleges are finding creative ways to connect with students and fill their classes. Inside Higher Ed recently looked at how some schools are admitting students and meeting their enrollment goals.

A PERSONALIZED EXPERIENCE  

At Duquesne University, application prospects looked bright this year. The school had a record 12,913 applications—20% more than last year. Duquesne admitted about 10,000 students this year and projects that 10 to 12% of admitted students will decline after being admitted off waitlists at other schools.

But school officials at Duquesne are optimistic about enrollment. The university has a new personalized experience for admitted students in hopes of filling more seats.

“If a student asked about anything she saw on the website, the response would be prompt and would reference what the person was interested in,” according to Scott Jaschik, of Inside Higher Ed. “The university redesigned financial aid forms to make them more conversational and easier to understand. And the university adopted days for admitted students to visit it in May (pushing back a day for juniors).”

A PUSH BEYOND MAY 1st

While May 1 marks the deposit date in the admissions process, many colleges are looking at efforts that go further in hopes of securing students.

At Augustana College, in Illinois, 649 students submitted deposits—in line with the school’s goal of 650 this year. But school officials expect many students to withdraw their enrollment this summer as they get admitted off the waitlist at other schools.

“We do not have the balance we’d hoped for between domestic and international students and recognize that there’s some risk with the proportion of international students we have in our mix,” W. Kent Barnds, executive vice president for external relations and enrollment at Augustana College, tells Inside Higher Ed.

Barnds says the school’s efforts to fill seats will go far beyond the May 1 deadline.

“While we are in pretty good shape, I think changes in the marketplace and new behaviors among competitors would force me to include Augustana on the [NACAC] list even if we were 60 over goal,” he tells Inside Higher Ed. “Our presence is an acknowledgment that the work continues through the summer and up to the start of classes, no matter how strong the tuition deposits are in early May.”

Sources: Inside Higher Ed, The New York Times