April 26, 2010

A More Personal Approach

Lafayette’s efforts to attract and retain prospective students featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education

On top of the usual follow-up letters, email messages, telephone calls, receptions, and events, the staff of the admissions office has employed a number of creative tactics this year to attract and retain prospective students. This hard work is the subject of a feature in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

“The Sweet and Subtle Science of Wooing the Admitted,” which ran April 25, highlights the extra steps the Lafayette admissions staff has taken recently to help ensure a higher yield (the percentage of admitted students who enroll).

The article focuses on how Lafayette’s admissions efforts have become more focused on personal contact. For more than a decade, the College’s acceptance letters have included personalized content about the student’s academic performance and activities. This year, admissions went a step further by sending follow-up letters from one of 12 alumni who represent a profession that the prospective student has expressed interest in.

Robert J. Massa, vice president for communications and acting dean of admissions and financial aid, is quoted in the article about the need for these personalized approaches. “It’s more important than ever because the stakes are higher. College is more expensive, and there’s much more competition for students.”

The more personalized work of current students and their parents is also highlighted. Instead of just sending emails to parents of undecided students, Lafayette parents are making direct phone calls, and students, who would have typically been making fund-raising calls, have been recruited to call on prospective students.

Hamish MacPhail ’13 (Bedford, Mass.) has been part of this outreach effort calling dozens of students this spring. He is quoted in the article about when he received a call last year as a high school senior. “I was already sold on Lafayette, but the call just kind of backed up everything that I already felt about the place.”

The College also launched its YourTime@Lafayette weekday visit program, a redesign of the previous Fridays at Lafayette. The newly-reworked program allows prospective students to schedule one-on-one meetings with faculty members, coaches, staff members, or current students.

Also quoted in the article are Asad Akram ’13 (Lahore, Pakistan); Lauren Carballo, assistant director of admissions; Zach Cleary ’10 (South Glastonbury, Conn.); Carol A. Rowlands, director of admissions; and Christopher Yarnell ’13 (Newmanstown, Pa.).

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