BY SHANZEH AHMAD | PHOTO BY YASIR ALHUMAIDAN
A record-high number of students have signed up for Admitted Student Days at Edgewood College this spring.
About 200 students were either signed up for one of the last two Admitted Student Days or are signed up for the next one in April, said Derek Johnson, director of freshmen admissions.
“It’s definitely a record high for us, and it has been absolutely wonderful so far,” he said. “In the past we’ve averaged around 160 students in all, so to be reaching 200 is definitely an accomplishment. We still have another Admitted Student Day coming up, so I’m confident that even more will sign up between now and then.”
Edgewood hosted its second Admitted Student Day of the year last Wednesday where admitted students are able to come to campus and experience a day in the life of an Edgewood College student.
Admitted Student Day, an event that Edgewood has been hosting for at least 12 years, gives current high school students who have been accepted into Edgewood for the upcoming fall semester an opportunity to come to campus and see what Edgewood has to offer. There are three Admitted Student Days: one was held in February, the next last Wednesday, and the third will be in April.
On each of these days, a number of students come in the morning and participate in several activities throughout the day, like icebreakers, sitting in on classes, and having lunch at Phil’s dining hall. Johnson has been a part of Admitted Student Days since he started at Edgewood about seven years ago.
“Admitted Student Days were really designed to give students the experience of what it’s like to be an Edgewood College student,” said Johnson. “Obviously if you’re making a college decision you should probably make sure that it’s a good fit for you. By providing these opportunities, we are allowing students to see what it is really about.”
Maggie Williams, a junior working in the Admissions Office, said that is important for Edgewood to host events like Admitted Student Days for a number of reasons. “One of the main reasons is that students are able to get a preview of what college life is really like,” said Williams. “From feedback that I have gotten from prospective students, they seem to really enjoy sitting in on classes. In fact, I still remember the classes that I sat in on during my Admitted Student Day as an incoming freshmen.”
Another big part of Admitted Student Day is the community building aspect.
Students are encouraged to talk to each other during the day. “A lot of times students coming to Edgewood don’t know many other people, so they’re all a bit nervous,” said Johnson. “We try to give students an opportunity to move around and build that sense of community by meeting new people.”
Throughout the day, there are also some special sessions offered to the students including athletics, fine arts, and general campus life. Campus tours and residence hall tours are also given throughout the day. At lunchtime, representatives from some of Edgewood’s student organizations will talk to prospective students about their organization.
Edgewood Admissions has been boosting the tracking and recruiting process since issues with enrollment decline came to the surface.
For Admitted Student Days, the process for recruiting students is extensive.
“We have a variety of different communication channels in order to get the word out about Admitted Student Days,” said Johnson. “We’re sending invites via mail and email, as well as having our admissions councilors calling each student personally to invite them. We’re reaching out in a lot of different ways to let students know that Admitted Student Day is the place to be.”
Johnson also said that Admitted Student Days are considered Edgewood’s highest-yielding events in terms of students who have applied and then enroll. “About 70 percent of students who attend Admitted Student Days are actually enrolling in Edgewood College,” said Johnson.
According to Williams, many of the students coming to Admitted Student Days end up choosing Edgewood because of how welcome they feel on campus. “Overall, the positive experience that prospective students get out of Admitted Student Days is the most important, which is why Edgewood does their best to continually make it the most meaningful experience possible,” said Williams.
The feedback for this event has been generally positive, according to Johnson. “We administer evaluations to all of the students after each Admitted Student Day, and across the board the feedback has been really positive,” said Johnson. “A lot of the time, students have no idea what they’re walking into, but overall it seems that students are coming in and having the experience that they were hoping to have.”
Johnson said declining enrollments are not unique to Edgewood College.
He said that there a fewer high school graduates because of lower birth rates.
“…That has a direct impact on students that colleges and universities can reach out to and hopefully enroll,” said Johnson. “This is something that just about every institution is challenged with. We do understand the realities and at the end of the day, we want to be responsive and responsible to everyone here. Obviously these are not easy conversations to have, but we’re trying to be proactive.”