It takes a village to recruit a student

Alan Byrd, right, director of admissions, talks with a prospective student at the recent UMSL Day.

It takes a village to recruit a student. The efforts of dozens of people go into recruiting just one student at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Faculty, staff and students all have a responsibility to attract new students, provide them with an outstanding education and an exceptional experience, and then send them off to pursue careers.

Everyone at UMSL is a recruiter.

-Recruitment services staff, UMSL’s front line, crisscrosses the state, lugging displays to high schools and weekend college fairs.
-The registrar’s office tallies application data and the financial aid office answers a steady stream of questions.
-Brochures, radio commercials, banners and billboards are created. Across campus, creative teams blog, tweet and post messages that say, “UMSL’s a great place.”
-Secretaries dole out directions and advice on the phone.
-Faculty and advisers offer counsel on coursework and career choices.
-Alumni spread the word.
-The windows shine, the grass is cut, and the police chief answers questions about safety.
-Deans arise early to breakfast with outstanding high school students.
-A student from the Welcome Center flashes a smile at a group of high school students and their parents.
-A photographer captures the moment.

“Recruitment and retention takes the entire campus and I really appreciate the collaborative efforts made to recruit, retain and graduate our students,” said Glen Cope, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Our faculty and staff are essential to persuading students that UMSL is the right place for them. But the heavy lifting is done by our recruitment, admissions and student affairs staff. Curt Coonrod, vice provost of student affairs leads the effort. Alan Byrd, director of admissions, and his staff and the financial aid staff under Tony Georges all work together as a marvelous team to recruit and retain our students.”

A comprehensive retention and recruitment plan launched in 2005 coupled with this year’s new marketing efforts have resulted in a steady increase in applications. The numbers reflect the efforts of the village.

A snapshot taken March 11 of the number of applicants for the fall 2011 semester shows a total of 4,675 students, up 6 percent from this time last year. Except for a comparatively small drop in applications in 2009, those numbers have increased 17 percent over the last five years.

“We are making steady progress in our efforts to attract more students to the university,” said Alan Byrd, director of admissions. “The recent investments that were made in marketing and recruitment are beginning to produce results. Now it is important for us to focus on the student experience and create an environment that ensures student success.”

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