Large, diverse incoming class on horizon
The Office of Admissions this fall anticipates enrolling one of the largest freshman classes in recent memory—about 1,485 students, 200 more than last year. It also likely is the most diverse and geographically expansive freshman class.
“Things look really good for the fall,” said Dan Griffin, interim director of admissions. “The last two graduating classes have been very large, and our enrollment last fall wasn’t quite where we would have liked it to be. So we needed a big shot in the arm.”
Freshman applications topped 10,000 for the first time since 2010, a 6 percent increase. Transfer numbers are keeping pace with last year, he said.
“We’re very, very pleased with this class,” Griffin said. “Where they’re coming from is the big story. They’re coming from farther afield than ever before.”
Griffin said he predicts Oswego will enroll the vast majority of its fall class from outside the immediate Central New York region, and twice as many will be from out of state compared to last year. In addition, nearly 1 in four entering freshmen will be from underrepresented groups.
Student quality, as indicated by SUNY’s selectivity matrix, will continue to top 60 percent of admitted freshmen and transfers from the two highest levels, he said. Oswego first hit that mark in 2009.
Reflecting on the explanation for the strong class, Griffin offered a list of ambitious efforts Admissions and other departments on campus made to “hit a home run” for this fall. The projects run the gamut from low-tech to high, from interpersonal to reaching receptive audiences via the Web, from in-office efficiencies to intensive efforts on the road, from courteous treatment of all callers and visitors to the impending opening of the Richard S. Shineman Center for Science, Engineering and Innovation.
For example, Griffin said, Admissions revamped the offer-of-admission packet. For the first time this fall, it sent a folder full of colorful, informative materials to each student offered a spot in the fall class. Admissions and the Public Affairs’ Web team worked together to make the college’s site more attractive and useful to potential freshmen and transfers on mobile, tablet and desktop computers and to build Oswego pride and cohesiveness in the Class of 2017 through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Tim Nekritz, associate director of public affairs and director of Web communication, said Oswego’s freshman recruits are “very excited for this next chapter. The fact that this can be translated through a social media platform adds to and feeds the excitement.”
Rachael Kepler, an entering freshman from Carthage High School, said Oswego’s social media efforts, including a Class of 2017 Facebook group of more than 1,000 members, help create a sense of shared experience and identity long before new students reach campus.
“We answer each other’s questions, help each other through the process of applying,” said Kepler, who also is working on a series of videos to help freshmen of the future with admission steps, financial aid, housing and other concerns. “We feel we’re not alone. It boosts confidence in finding new people reaching out and making friends.”
Orientation numbers up
By May 30, orientation programs had 640 students signed up for seven two-day freshman sessions this summer, according to Erin Marulli, assistant orientation coordinator. That compares with 444 registered by the end of May last year.
Marulli and fellow assistant Ashley Stripling acknowledged the role of social media in attracting today’s students, and said plans are under way to integrate Twitter and Instagram for informative and fun contests at orientation, which will begin with a session June 30 to July 1.
Financial Aid, Residence Life and Housing, Campus Life and academic areas—especially in the sciences and business—are gearing up for increased numbers of first-year students.
As the Northeast continues to experience a slow economic recovery and stable or decreasing population, Griffin said his department and others need to continue to work hard at attracting students.
“You cannot discount the little things,” Griffin said. “You cannot discount how we answer the phone, how we respond to everyday emails, how we engage a family that’s waiting in the hallway for an appointment to begin. We take a lot of pride here in how we deal with students and their families.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Future freshman at work—Newly enrolled Rachael Kepler of Carthage, left, shows the spirited side of Oswego’s large entering freshman class, interviewing Martha Fasteland, Hart Hall residence director, during an Admitted Student Day open house as part of a series of videos she’s producing to help future college entrants with the process. Kepler is one of an estimated 1,485 freshmen—the largest class in recent memory—entering Oswego this fall.
(Posted: Jun 14, 2013)