This weekend, the Wabash Admissions office is hosting a visit day for prospective students. In years past, Wabash has been extremely proactive in promoting these days as they are explicit in representing the College to high school students sitting on a decision. It gives them a chance to dip their toes into Wabash life – professors, athletics, classes, fraternities, and the aesthetic beauty of the campus. This year, however, Wabash is taking a shift in their approach due to external impacts.
FAFSA deadlines are changing. Historically, financial aid deadlines were not due until late into the first semester. This year, deadlines moved up the calendar and leave Wabash (and other colleges) in a state of distress. With earlier FAFSA deadlines, students will need to apply to colleges sooner and make final decisions quicker; in essence, all aspects included in choosing a school coincide with each other. Therefore, Wabash holds a visit day earlier in the year to abide by these shifting policies.
The main difference could change the game. This year, admissions are implementing an overnight stay on Friday. Host students are offering up their living unit – dormitories or fraternity buildings – so that prospects can receive an introduction to the living conditions and social life here at the College. This experience gives them a chance to construct ideas about the overall Wabash campus life. Furthermore, some of our highly astute tour guides are chauffeuring the visitors (and their families) around campus. As a guide, Andrew Denning ’20 reflects on the tour and what it offers.
“It takes about an hour depending on what they want to see,” Denning said. “You kinda give them all the info, data, facts, and highlight the best part of the campus. Also, things they may be interested in and accommodation of the parents as well.”
With these new changes, the admissions office hopes to see improvement. This weekend, fifty-three students are staying overnight on Friday, and forty-three students are coming Saturday for the football game and other activities. Add these together, and almost one hundred prospects put Wabash down on their list of visited schools. Chip Timmons, Associate Dean for Enrollment, believes this weekend will result in recruitment progression.
“My hope is that it will lead to more applications, more admitted students, and hopefully a larger class,” Timmons said. “If they have a great visit, then it will make them choose earlier.”
College visits are necessary. The admissions office is pleased with the number of prospects on campus this weekend. The initial visit separates Wabash from other schools regarding recruitment timing and style. However, this is only the second-year Wabash has implemented such an early visit, so recruiters will get a chance to see how they are impacting these high-schooler’s decisions about college overall.
Admissions can learn from the experience. In moving forward, colleges have to decide new strategies in the recruitment process. Choosing the perfect college is made easier by the countless hours spent in preparation by admissions. Timmons believes they will learn key methods in moving forward.
“We will learn if we promoted it right, early enough, and if there are some things we should do differently,” Timmons said.