Update from the Vice President for Enrollment Management

Posted on 3/31/20 3:03 PM

Dear Colleagues,

While we are in the thick of responding to what we need to do in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I want to assure you that the Division of Enrollment Management has not lost focus on our important work and we are continuing to move forward. As always, thank you for the collaboration. I wanted to send an update so that you are aware of our current initiatives. Please share this information, as well as my thanks, to members of your teams.

While the methods we need to use to recruit our students is different in these uncertain times, our commitment to providing the best experience for prospective students and their families has not, and will not, change. We will continue to highlight the amazing opportunities IUP provides and the support students will receive when they decide to join our IUP family. It is essential that we continue to collaborate with our partners all over campus. Thank you for your continued good work.

Undergraduate students continue to be admitted on a rolling basis and, as always, respond as quickly as possible with a decision. As a matter of fact, all students applying as of Friday (March 27, 2020) have been sent admissions decisions. Our robust communication plan continues and includes our mailed pieces, strategic email and text messages, digital marketing, and making phone calls and having Zoom meetings with our prospective students to keep them engaged.

However, some things have had to change.

As it was necessary to cancel our upcoming in-person Experience IUP days for admitted students, we have been working with the Division of Marketing and Communications to prepare virtual experiences for prospective students. An Experience IUP web page is being created that will contain virtual presentations and tours of our residence hall suite options, "hosted" by two of our Crimson Guides. Through technology, we will offer virtual individual sessions for families with our financial aid staff, admission counselors, and Crimson Guides.

In addition to the changes for our admitted students, we will be holding a daily virtual visit experience that includes a Q&A session with the admission counselors. We are also piloting a departmental Q&A event in collaboration with the Department of Kinesiology, Health, and Sport Science, with the expectation to roll this out as an option for other academic departments on campus. Instagram takeovers are also being developed to allow for live discussions on topics such as housing and dining, study abroad opportunities, and discussions with current students. We will keep you posted when these events begin.

Some more "nuts and bolts" work that we've implemented in order to be sensitive to our prospective students include:

  • Extending the May 1 decision deadline (National College Decision Day) to June 1 to allow for students to have more time to make a decision.

  • Allowing for windows of time when students can pay a reduced price for their tuition deposit (from $150 to $100).

  • Collaborating with the colleges to temporarily expand the academic profile of students who can be admitted without an SAT score.

  • Temporarily removing the requirement of a final high school transcript for transfer students to be admitted.

While I know that many of you will be, or have been, asked to be involved in the activities I've described above, we have requested that our academic affairs colleagues, who are our partners in recruiting students, to continue their individual outreach in these ways:

  • Email your admitted AND deposited students with messaging that is unique to each group.

  • Call your admitted students. Please ask them if they have questions, or if they have made up their minds, and please encourage students to make their deposits. As our admissions staff reaches out to our prospective students, we're finding that students are answering calls at a rate we have not seen in a very long timethey're home now and able to take the calls.

  • Call your deposited students to just check in and let them know how excited we are to have them join our IUP family. They need that sense of connection.

  • Keep your departmental social media updated with fresh posts. (Marketing and Communications can help you with this.)

  • Engage our current students and utilize them to assist in making callsor prospective students love talking with our current studentsand we find our current students love it as well!

Our graduate admissions office has also settled into its new "normal" and is continuing service to students who call or email. We have reached out to all prospective graduate students via email in a message to ensure them we are open, available to respond to questions, and are here to help them with their applications (prospective students) and transition to graduate school at IUP (admitted future students).

In addition to office hours continuing (remotely) from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to help prospective students with their questions, Graduate Admissions is working to provide remote drop-in sessions for prospective students via Zoom, with the first opportunity taking place on Thursday, April 2.

Partnerships with graduate program coordinators and the Division of Marketing and Communications continue in order to recruit graduate students. These activities include:

  • A virtual open house (moved from an in-person event) on April 16 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

    • Digital campaigns continue to invite prospective students to join faculty and staff at this virtual event; Graduate Admissions and graduate program coordinators continue to partner to host and execute the event.
  • IUP Undergraduate to Graduate student recruitment

    • To encourage IUP's undergraduate students to "Go for More" at IUP, digital campaigns continue as planned along with student outreach specifically designed for this group.
  • Virtual Graduate School Fairs

    • Participating in virtual graduate recruitment events hosted by external partners. Upcoming April events include fairs to recruit graduate students into healthcare and education-related programs.

Graduate Admissions, as well as Admissions Operations, is committed to continue as a resource to faculty looking for guidance regarding recruitment.

Recruitment for the Academy of Culinary Arts is moving forward. The automated communication plan is being fully executed to prospective students and includes email, printed letters, and digital marketing. Counselors are contacting prospective students daily by text, phone, and email. Financial aid counseling is being conducted via phone conversations on a regular basis.

In response to the inability for in-person events, the Academy, in close collaboration with the culinary faculty, is utilizing the following tools:

Social Media

  • Live-streamed faculty pasta making demonstration on Facebook and Instagram

  • Photos from faculty Zoom classes posted as received

A campus visit substitute, which is in development now

  • Virtual tour of the campus (PowerPoint slideshow saved as an mp4 video)

  • Zoom admissions presentation

Next projects to be worked on:

  • Faculty or alumni Zoom demonstration for specifically for recruitment

  • Recorded Zoom class edited to use for recruitment

  • Admissions counselor Zoom demonstration for recruitment

Note: Virtual tours are being created by culinary admissions staff, who are collaborating with faculty to share cooking demonstrations.

The Financial Aid office continues to package and distribute financial aid offers to our incoming students; as of March 30, more than 4,800 letters having been sent to families with decisions about need-based and merit aid. The Financial Aid office is also partnering with the divisions of Student Affairs and University Advancement to assist with the Emergency Response Fund program. This fund helps our current IUP students who are experiencing unexpected, emergency financial needs such as housing, travel, and educational expenses. More than 100 people have made donations to this fund. Information and a link to how to donate is available on the Coronavirus Information page. If you know of a student in need, please direct the student to the Emergency Response Form.

We in the Division of Enrollment Management truly appreciate your input, your collaboration, and your support. While we're physically separated, we know that we are all in this together. For this, I sincerely thank you all.

Best regards,

Patricia C. McCarthy, DEd
Vice President for Enrollment Management