New admissions plan seeks to increase enrollment


Brooke Williams, News Editor

Marywood’s Admissions department implemented a new plan this semester to increase enrollment.

This strategic plan “looks at enrollment through the lens of the student,” according to Senior Director of University Admissions Christian DiGregorio.

DiGregorio said an Inside Higher Ed study showed fewer college admissions offices are meeting their enrollment goals by May 1 each year.

“It just keeps going down, and things are getting harder and harder. We’ve experienced similar issues, not unlike any other school,” he said.

DiGregorio said the population of college-going students in the northeastern region of the United States peaked in 2010. Fewer people are receiving a college education, and more schools are scrambling to find students, he said.

Additionally, he said the various electronic channels available to reach students make recruitment more complicated because standing out as a university becomes more difficult.

This prompted DiGregorio to form an enrollment task force of faculty members, a dean and representatives from Athletics and the Marketing and Communications departments.

Vice President for Enrollment Services and Student Success Ann Boland-Chase, who supports DiGregorio in carrying out the plan, said there have been other enrollment plans at Marywood in the past. With these admissions challenges, staff from Enrollment and Admissions believed getting others on campus who already helped with recruitment efforts involved would be beneficial.

She said the university needs a long-term plan to be proactive in preparing for challenges instead of waiting until the numbers decline and then reacting.

Together, the task force conducted research and discussed ways to increase enrollment at Marywood despite these challenges. They studied the market conditions for prospective students and higher education, as well as Generation Z, which succeeds the millennial generation.

Unlike people in earlier generations, people of Generation Z change as technology changes, and DiGregorio said universities need to change with them.

The task force identified how to communicate best with students and what Generation Z students are looking for in a college education, as well as Marywood’s strengths that set it apart from other schools.

Some of these strengths, Boland-Chase said, include the opportunities for students to get hands-on experience in their majors early on, as well as opportunities to get internships and conduct research as underclassmen.

DiGregorio said the task force also identified international areas that might yield significant application numbers.

The task force will continue to meet on a regular basis, and the strategic enrollment plan will take Marywood through 2021, he said.

“We’re really excited about it. We’ve already started some things and it’s moving,” he said. “I’ve even shown it to some outside consultants and they think we’re on the right track.”

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