Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Student Services staffers utilizing software for personalized approach in student application process

The Chillicothe Campus’ Student Services staff is taking an increasingly personalized approach to student recruitment, with an emphasis on staying in touch with students throughout the process and increasing the yield of students who go from college applicants to college students at OU-C this fall.

A key has been the use of Ohio University enrollment management software that allows Student Services staffers to communicate with prospective students with messages that are tailored to the students, according to their status in the application/enrollment process. A focus is turning these applications into admissions as well as preparing students for success in college.

“We have been able to use the Peoplesoft and OBIEE software systems the university recently implemented to customize a system that is tailored to our needs at OU-C,” Director of Student Services John Fisher said. “For example, Student Services members can pull up 2012 fall applicants, sort them by where they stand in the admissions process, and (Coordinator of Student Enrollment) Jaime Lowe will then send each student a specific email that is tailored to their status in the process.”

“This allows Jaime to stay in closer contact with students during the admissions process, which emphasizes the personal touch that is a key feature of the Chillicothe Campus educational experience,” Fisher said.

The result is an ongoing conversation with the students that addresses their questions.

“We are able to better interact with the students and to engage them in a dialogue that addresses their specific concerns,” Lowe said. “Through the email exchanges, as well as phone calls with the students, we can share information about scholarships financial aid, athletics and other areas of interest to the students.”

The results should be felt in not only the number of students in the incoming class but also their level of preparedness.

“Because of this approach, incoming students should be much more ready to start college, and I think we will see the difference the first week of classes,” Lowe said. “Hopefully, students are having their questions answered sooner because of this personalized approach that allows us to have conversations with the new students and point them in the right direction.

A measurement of success can be found in the number of students attending summer orientation sessions since those students, through their participation in the orientation sessions, indicate a strong likelihood of attending OU-C. “We are tracking orientation attendance, and we are 30 percent ahead of where we were at the same time last summer,” Fisher said.

The orientation sessions themselves, which are streamlined, yet comprehensive, continue this focused, student-centered approach.

“The goal of our orientation sessions is simple: We want these incoming students to be fully ready to attend their first class fall quarter after completing the orientation session. That means they have registered for classes, activated their university email accounts, made sure their financial aid is in order and gotten their campus ID. All they need to do is buy their books and they are ready to start their college journey,” Fisher said.

“So far, we have gotten positive feedback about the orientations. The new students seem to like the fact we mean business and take care of the necessary details so that they can focus on the academic portion,” Fisher said. “We firmly believe that a proper orientation session is a key to a successful college career.”

OU-C’s fall semester begins Aug. 27.