On Monday, Westminster Faculty in Fulton introduced a 25 % improve in freshman enrollment for the 2020-21 college 12 months.
The school additionally introduced plans to proceed waiving its ACT and SAT requirement this 12 months. Westminster initially waived the standardized take a look at requirement in April to assist potential college students in the course of the COVID-19 quarantine, directors stated.
Dr. Paul Orscheln, Vice President of Enrollment Providers, Advertising and marketing, and Strategic Communications, stated one contributing issue to the rise in freshman inhabitants was going test-optional final spring.
“With the cancellations of the ACT and SAT checks final spring and summer season, we knew many college students would not have the chance to supply a rating or enhance their rating to fulfill our admissions necessities,” he defined. “Given the quantity of stress they had been already managing with logging on to complete their senior 12 months, we felt we would have liked to scale back any obstacles we may to attend Westminster.”
At precisely 177 college students, the Class of 2024 is the biggest freshman class the Faculty has welcomed in 4 years.
Orscheln stated enjoyable the testing requirement was not the one purpose the freshman inhabitants elevated this semester.
“We devised a cautious plan to make sure these numbers elevated,” Orscheln stated. “Mainly, we overhauled the engine of an already purposeful machine to make it run much more easily.”
The school discovered conventional direct mailings dropped just a few years in the past to avoid wasting prices had been truly very important, as a result of mother and father see this materials, whereas digital advertising typically goes immediately and solely to potential college students.
“Our objective is to achieve college students and oldsters the place they’re, and we should make certain we’re speaking via each channel potential,” Orschelm stated.
Westminster interim president/chief transformational officer Donald Lofe additionally spoke extremely of direct mailing throughout a recent talk delivered to the Fulton Rotary Membership.
“What the analysis exhibits is mother and father, youngsters wish to get a bit of paper,” Lofe stated. “They wish to see a shiny brochure. We saved cash however most likely harm ourselves ultimately. We restarted that this 12 months.”
Along with just a few modifications in advertising methods, Orscheln stated freshman enrollment is up due to a powerful group of admissions counselors in devoted territories who’re expert in listening to potential college students.
“They are surely an enthusiastic, nice group of individuals with loads of vitality,” Orscheln stated, including his division lately doubled the variety of admissions counselors within the St. Louis space.
Oddly sufficient, the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t negatively have an effect on enrollment numbers, as some at Westminster feared.
“We had been attempting to proceed to construct enrollment via the pandemic and had been pleasantly stunned with the numbers we ended up with,” Orscheln stated.
When potential college students couldn’t go to campus this spring, Enrollment Providers reached out via chatbots and different texting and video platforms. The school additionally launched a digital tour function on its web site, Wesminster spokesperson Sarah Backer stated.
All Westminster departments carried out social distancing and sanitation efforts in an effort to make faculty life work throughout this unprecedented time in historical past. Consequently, Orscheln stated, the general surroundings feels much more family-like, which Orschelm believes potential college students picked up on the minute they set foot on campus.
“Everybody at Westminster is working collectively as a group. All of us be ok with what we’re doing, and that may be felt by others who are available from the skin,” Orscheln stated. “That is not one thing we are able to faux, and our numbers present it.”