Admissions takes new approach to recruitment

By Leanne Vastbinder, Staff Writer

Every year, the Admissions Department at Newman reviews its recruitment strategies and pursues new ways to get more students interested in attending Newman. This semester, the admissions team has expanded their recruitment plan to include hosting middle school students, as well as more interactive programs for their high school and graduate visitors.

After examining enrollment data from the last 15 years, the admissions team will move away from attending traditional career fairs in an effort to start bringing more students to campus and giving them a hands-on introduction to higher education. The goal of the new initiative is to make Newman more accessible to a wider variety of middle school, high-school and graduate students, says the admissions staff.

Most middle schools in Kansas incorporate early college learning programs. This semester, Newman’s admissions team started hosting various middle school groups and offering a hands-on field trip day for the students. Their goal is not just to provide interactive experiences that engage the students (like a paper airplane challenge and campus scavenger hunt) but to introduce them to various majors and degree options.

Cammie Kennedy, director of undergraduate admissions, is working with the rest of the team to bring in a younger generation of prospective students.

“Bringing those eighth graders on campus is an opportunity for us to showcase what our campus has to offer,” Kennedy said.

In addition, students from private and public high schools will have new learning opportunities when they come for campus visits. Starting in September 2019, the “Discover Your Major” program will give students real college life experiences, such as interacting with professors, eating in the cafeteria, and investigating possible career options.

“In six sessions, there will be six different hands-on activities that will help them see and get a feel for a major as they start looking towards college. It’s an experience,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy will be assisting Georgia Drewes, new associate director of admissions and recruitment, in leading the new program. Drewes has scheduled at least 10 high school groups to come try out the new initiative program in the fall semester.

“We want to be a resource. They can come here and try out lots of different majors and figure out what they like,” Drewes said.

Drewes said she hopes that the program will encourage visitors to build relationships with current students and future professors.

Admissions is also expanding its focus to include options for transfer and graduate students.

Beginning in the fall semester, Newman will host monthly open houses in the evenings for prospective adult and graduate students, said the admissions staff. Morgan Gilbert, associate director of graduate admissions, will be overseeing the new program.

“[The open houses] will be geared towards specific majors and interests. Most of these students have jobs during the day, so we will open up nights and present info sessions,” Gilbert said.

Going forward, the Admissions department envisions a campus-wide recruitment effort in engaging prospective students.

“Bringing people here and giving prospective students a good experience is everyone’s responsibility, and not just admissions. Saying ‘Hi’ or introducing yourself can make a big impact,” Drewes said.

PHOTO: THE ADMISSIONS TEAM helped with the concession stand at Kapaun Mount Carmel’s production of “The Sound of Music.” Courtesy Photo, FlyNewmanU Instagram