The committee on coeducational recruitment submitted the final summary of its research on this topic. The following is a summary of the committee’s nine-page report:
1. In order to respond to the quest for knowledge about academic programs/majors, we will investigate the development of publications/booklets with explanations of the majors. Internship opportunities, student research and the benefits of studying that major at Wilson as well as faculty profiles could also be included. For younger students (9th- and 10th-graders), a publication that tells them what jobs or careers are related to each of our majors is a must.
2. Students admit to not opening email or text messages they receive from colleges. We heard this from the male student interviews, but are aware of this fact from national studies of student preferences. The male students admitted to rarely checking their email. This has implications for student search practices, much of which is driven by early email contact upon receipt of those addresses then backed up by direct mail. Admissions will revert to the old “first in the mailbox” theory with “Search” and be certain that what is sent is meaningful and attractive to students.
3. Students expressed a strong preference for personalized letters that invite them to do something such as visit the campus and enjoy a meal in the dining hall. Admissions personnel can capitalize on our already strong relationship building that is evidenced by the bond between our admissions counselors and their student pool of applicants and enrolling students. Personalized letters inviting students to visit the campus could be from their admissions counselor.
4. It appears that males prefer individual visits to colleges vs. attending an open house. Individual visits are tailored to their specific interests and allow them to have conversations with faculty and other students. Wilson can anticipate an upswing in these; the Admissions staff will have to plan in-office time during fall and spring recruitment seasons in order to have office coverage and accommodate prospective student visits.
5. Male students do not appear to have much trepidation about who they will have as a roommate. What will be important for the parents of male students as a part of the campus tour is the ability to view the residence hall and a typical residence hall room in which the student will live.
6. Students provided insights about college websites that, from their perspective, are far too difficult to navigate and find the information that they seek. The website they hold in highest regard is the College Board because of its simplicity and ease of navigation. The information is short and to the point. They discover all that they want within a click or two. This is their major source of college information.
7. Students stated that Net Price Calculators were of no use to them in their search for colleges. They told us that there were too many questions about information that they as high school students did not have available to them. They made a few attempts on college websites to use them but soon abandoned NPCs. Some students suggested that colleges should provide examples of financial aid awards.
8. The only college fair in this area is the small October event at Chambersburg Area Senior High School (CASHS). A very small number of colleges actually participate in this and an even smaller number of area students and parents are present. Perhaps Wilson could partner with CASHS and help to develop this college fair into a meaningful opportunity for area students and their parents.
9. College Prowler is a major source of student information about colleges that all students mentioned. This site is where enrolled students write comments about their college and campus. Colleges have no control over this site. We checked it out and discovered that the comments on the site from Wilson students are more of a positive nature.
10. Males do not want their parents involved in their college search. This will be very different for Wilson’s admissions counselors because they are used to having the parents of females do all of the talking. Without question, this will be a refreshing change of pace.
With regard to coeducational recruiting, the committee found that the process of male student recruitment does not differ greatly from female student recruitment. Both search by academic programs of interest to them as opposed to specific colleges or types of colleges.
Of particular note is the fact that the male high school students expressed no apprehension about Wilson’s “Traditions;” in fact, the group from Chambersburg appeared to express some excitement about them because that school has many similar traditions in place that parallel Odds/Evens, class colors and songs. The Daisy Chain even seemed like fun to them. The advice from male students was not to alter anything about Wilson’s Traditions; they believe that men will fit in with whatever appeals to them.
Included on a list of expected amenities is a snack bar on campus that is open after the dinner hour or a food truck that roams the campus where students can purchase soft drinks, snacks, sandwiches, pizza, etc. Outdoor and indoor recreational opportunities on campus are also expected as are intramurals.
Academic awards and prizes as well as endowed scholarships need to be expanded to include the eligibility of both males and adult students of any gender. The present exclusive situation won’t be acceptable in the future.
Everyone has been concerned with the need to provide a rationale to males as to why they should be interested in attending a former woman’s college. One group of high school males emphatically stated that we should be telling men right now that they will be a part of something historic, something new. All of the male students liked the small class size and relationships with faculty; these are the very things that are always stressed in the student recruit process.