Due to the monumental challenges caused by the COVID-19 crisis, college admission offices around the world have faced unprecedented hurdles in recruiting new students. For Wesleyan’s team, that means proven strategies have been modified and new ones have been created. Because face-to-face contact with students has been limited, the admissions team has connected with prospective students virtually in a variety of ways. Visit pages on the website have been expanded to include virtual campus tours, the option to connect virtually with an admissions or financial aid counselor, and visit opportunities tailored for international students. Prospects can also video chat with one of our current students.
Vice President for Strategic Enrollment Management Clint Hobbs said, “I consider our achievements for fall 2020 enrollment among the most remarkable in my long career. I am super proud of our enrollment team, athletics, and everyone at Wesleyan who worked together to produce acceptable results in the most challenging of times. Our full-time day enrollment number increased from 587 in fall 2019 to 604 in fall 2020.”
In fall 2019, the admissions team attended more than 260 in-person events to recruit students for fall 2020. This fall, despite only attending 130 virtual events and one in-person event to recruit students for fall 2021, recruitment numbers are outpacing last year’s numbers. The admissions office hosted hosted three on-campus, in-person Preview Days, October 17, November 14, and February 15, and all were well attended. Additionally, the fall recruitment season ended with a Virtual Preview Week, one of the new strategies used to address the issues caused by the absence of in-person recruiting. The week consisted of several virtual events each day with a variety of departments on campus in which prospective students and their families participated.
To date, recruitment numbers for fall 2021 are ahead of last year’s numbers and on track to meet this year goals. According to Director of Admissions Kayla Walker, “We are staying connected with our prospective students more than ever and taking into consideration all of the new pressures and anxieties they may be facing in their senior year of high school. Our team does an incredible job of communicating and getting to know prospective students. We’ve added personal touches throughout the admissions process to help our students feel connected and know that we care. We hope to be a resource for them during these unprecedented times whether that’s in-person or virtually.”