Colleges now face own admissions nail-biting

by Amit Anand | 5/9/00 5:00am

If you think the only competitive part of the college admissions process lies in students vying for thick envelopes in April, think again.

Once admissions decisions are made, college admissions staffs now become the competitors -- vying with each other to entice accepted students to matriculate.

Some schools even go as far as sending students clothing with the school's name on it and offering to fly students to their campus.

According to Dartmouth's Director of Admissions Maria Lasarkis, the College holds events that are similar to what many other top-tier institutions do to attract admitted students to campus.

"We have a series of activities planned for students so they can get a full picture and know if this is the right fit for them," she said.

The College is waiting this week to see how successful their recruiting techniques have been, with acceptance numbers for the Class of 2004 expected to be finalized within the next few days.

The College held a series of phonathons last month to give admitted students an opportunity to talk with undergraduates. According to Lasarkis, turnout was high for all four nights of the phonathons.

In addition to having current students contact prospectives, the College also provided a list of all admitted students to the academic departments in which the students had shown an interest.

"Alongside the student phonathon, we had a faculty phonathon," Lasarkis said. "We encouraged the faculty to call, write and blitz the admitted students."

She added that interaction with the faculty at the outset of one's Dartmouth experience "is a very important connection."

The Dimensions of Dartmouth program -- a program that attracted more than 400 students last month -- was another important part of the College's prospective recruitment efforts, Lasarkis said.

There are also many off-campus events, such as programs sponsored by various alumni across the country. This year, the College set up an online chat board where members of the class of 2004 can communicate with each other.

Lasarkis noted that the College does not target any particular groups of students.

"Every student we admit, we'd like to see on campus," she said. "There are some people who think we're doing too much," she said. "But I think prospective students feel strongly that they want to visit to make an informed decision."

Lasarkis said the Admissions Office plans to analyze the costs of the programs and the number of students who choose to come to Dartmouth to measure the effectiveness of the College's strategies to attract students.

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