Admissions Process to Better Meet Student Long-Term Needs
JONESBORO – The process of restructuring Arkansas State University’s approach to all incoming students is underway with the renaming and repurposing of the university’s Office of Admissions under Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management Dr. Bryan Terry.
“We are in a new era of reaching our future students that requires new ways of thinking about how we manage recruitment and retention – this is the essence of the concept of enrollment management,” Chancellor Kelly Damphousse said. “We anticipated creating not only the new vice chancellor position, but also new ways to organize and streamline our operations.”
Terry’s approach to enrollment management focuses on the entire cycle of the individual, from the moment of interest in Arkansas State through admission and matriculation toward graduation and retention into the Alumni Association.
“In the past, many universities were well-meaning with their idea of a recruiter who got a student interested, then handed off to an admissions office, then handed off to the faculty, then sent out into the world with a diploma,” Terry said. “We want the person who first meets with any student to be the shepherd who guides them through the entire process of beginning classes at Arkansas State. We have a strong commitment to retention under Chancellor Damphousse, and this extends that commitment to our prospective students.”
All current recruiters now become admissions counselors, with operations of the office to be directed by a new senior director of admissions.
“The goal is for any of our admissions counselors to be able to visit with a high school or community college, deliver the right information, and to work with any person seeking to improve their life through higher education,” Terry said. “We will strive to have admissions counselors that can walk in and guide a high school student through the traditional admission process, talk to a teacher or staff member at that school about graduate programs, or assist any returning adult in completion of that elusive degree at Arkansas State.”
During the past academic year, Arkansas State has dramatically increased its number of transfer students through renewed and expanded articulation agreements with 21 of 22 two-year institutions in the state of Arkansas.
“Increasingly we see the need for better services in the on-boarding of transfer or returning students in higher education,” Terry said. “A transfer student may arrive with experience in college, but every university is different. Our admissions counselors can assist in that transition. We want them to become a resource to those who are life-long learners that are seeking to complete a degree or return for new skills to advance a career.”
To serve the growing population of non-traditional students within the region, Terry is studying the idea of creating a lead coordinator for veterans, transfer students and returning students.
“Arkansas State has a long history of service to those who are members of our armed forces, whether it is through one of the oldest and largest ROTC programs in our state, providing online educational opportunities for active duty military around the world, or supporting returning service members through the Beck PRIDE Center,” Terry said. “Degree completion is a strategic goal not only of our chancellor, but of our governor for the citizens of Arkansas.”
While recommitting to the university’s traditional base in Northeast Arkansas, Terry is committed to expanding the services provided by the office into areas where A-State is seeing enrollment growth or potential, notably establishing admissions counselors in the St. Louis and southern Illinois region and western Arkansas.
“A-State has a strong relationship with the Bootheel region of Missouri, and we have seen more and more students south of St. Louis joining in that trend,” he said. “In our state, we know that the largest growing demographic areas are on the western side of the state, and we believe that through both our on-campus and on-line offerings that we can be of service to these Arkansans.”
Previously known as the Office of Admissions, Records and Recruiting, the recruiting and admissions areas continue with the Division of Enrollment Management as the Office of Admissions. As a part of the reorganization, the records function of the previous office will shift into the Office of Registrar in the Division of Academic Affairs.
The newly organized office is also investigating new management software that will allow for better tracking of communication with potential students, and to help identify more opportunities for interaction with prospects.
Finally, greater integration of A-State alumni in all levels of the admissions process, from identification of potential students to direct participation in local events, is a part of the strategic plans for enrollment management.
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