The 2020-2021 school year is off and running and so far it’s running smoothly. The Office for Strategic Enrollment Management did a magnificent job adjusting to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis as it relates to recruiting new student enrollment for fall 2020.
Fall 2020 Results
At their enrollment planning retreat in the summer of 2019, Vice President Clint Hobbs and his team set a goal to enroll 150 first year students and 40 transfer students for fall 2020. The first year student goal was an increase from the previous year by 15 students or 11 percent, which they felt was realistic given the addition of the Common Application as another application generation strategy. Hobbs said, “In May of 2020, I was optimistic that we would achieve both our first year and transfer student goals, despite the monumental challenges encountered because of the COVID-19 crisis. The summer months were not as generous to us as I had hoped. We ended up with 144 first year students and 37 new transfer students enrolled. But I must say that despite the fact new student enrollment goals were not quite met, I consider our achievements among the most remarkable I’ve seen in my long career. I am proud of our enrollment team, the athletics staff, and everyone at Wesleyan who worked together to produce an acceptable result in the most challenging of times.”
The first year Class of 2024 is the second largest class to enter Wesleyan since 2002, or in the last 18 years. Only six classes have been larger since 1980: 1988 (142), 1996 (151), 1998 (156), 2001 (177), 2002 (151), 2018 (155).
· 95% of the first year class is from Georgia (88% last year)
· 40% are from North Georgia (37% last year)
· 44% are from Middle Georgia (42% last year)
· 10% are from South Georgia (9% last year)
· 5% are from out of state or international (10% last year)
Their ethnic breakdown is as follows:
· Black/African American 61 (44%)
· White 48 (35%)
· Hispanics of any race 22 (16%)
· Nonresident Alien 4 (3%)
· Two or more races 2 (1.5%)
· Asian 1 (0.72%)
· Unreported 1 (0.72%)
At their enrollment planning retreat in July 2020, new student goals were set for both first year and transfer students, 150 and 40 respectively. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis has prevented admission representatives from making in-person high school visits and participating in college fairs, so the admissions team has adjusted their recruitment strategies in major ways. Traditional strategies have been modified and new strategies are in place. Communication with prospects has been altered to encourage students to connect with Wesleyan virtually including through virtual visits, virtual campus tours, and other virtual events. Hobbs said, “We've expanded the visit pages on our website so that all of our virtual options are highlighted. Some options include connecting with admissions or financial aid counselors, international student visits, and the option to video chat with one of our current students. A Virtual Preview Week is planned for the month of December and will consist of several daily virtual events in which prospective students and their families can participate. Strategies to address the issues that are caused by the absence of in-person recruiting away from campus are continuing to be developed, such as a walking tour of the campus and interviews with faculty, students, and staff. We are participating in virtual college fairs and high school visits where are offered. Also, direct mail has become more of a part of the student recruitment marketing plan than it has been in recent years. On-campus, in-person Preview Days are scheduled for October 17 and November 14.
The 2020-2021 enrollment cycle is likely to play out very differently than any previous year. While the evolution of technology over the past 20 years has given colleges and universities the ability to create and deliver some snazzy virtual content to prospective students, it was never intended as a replacement for face-to-face recruitment. Lesser known colleges, like Wesleyan, benefit from the exposure they get to students who have never heard of them, but happen to walk up to the table at a fair and inquire. Hobbs said, “This is the biggest obstacle we must overcome over the course of this enrollment cycle. The good news is that I have every confidence in our ability to overcome and succeed. I believe another good-sized class is on the way for Wesleyan next fall.”
How you can help – REFER A STUDENT:
Nobody knows the value of a Wesleyan College education better than her alumnae. We encourage you to share your experiences with high school girls and their parents. Encourage them to attend a Preview Day or take a virtual tour. Invite them to contact the offices of enrollment services and financial aid. Guide them to our website to learn about scholarships, grants, and loans. Scholarship Day is February 27…the earlier a student applies, the earlier they will learn about the financial aid package Wesleyan can offer.
Don’t forget about the Legacy Scholarship, valued at $15,000, offered to incoming first-year students who are referred to the College by a Wesleyan alumna who is a grandmother, mother, step-mother, sister, step-sister, sister-in-law, or aunt of the student. (The relationships of great-aunt, godmother, and cousin are not considered legacy. Wesleyan College reserves the right to limit scholarship funds based upon availability.)
The Wesleyan First Book Award, is another great way for alumnae to promote Wesleyan College. The award is given to outstanding high school sophomores who are eligible for a significant scholarship if they matriculate at Wesleyan.