Admissions office creates enrollment goals for next year

Now that final enrollment numbers are in, the Office of Admissions is focusing on its goals for next year in the areas of improving recruitment, diversity and financial aid opportunities.

“Certainly to recruit a bright, diverse class of students, it really takes a lot of effort throughout the campus,” said Stacey Kostell, director of undergraduate admissions.

The admissions office, the financial aid office and a marketing and communications unit for admissions create their own goals before coming together to collaborate on broad, campus-wide goals, Kostell said. An overview of these goals has been presented to the senate admissions committee and the Senate Executive Committee, or SEC, over the past few weeks.

Michael Biehl is the senate admissions committee chair and said the committee acts as a liaison between University admissions officers and the Urbana-Champaign Senate. After reviewing the campus enrollment plan goals last week, he said they are “in the spirit of” the University-wide enrollment management plan created by former University president Michael Hogan last spring.

“Speaking for the committee, these goals are very detailed, very challenging, and yet they are in line with the expressed admissions and enrollment management goals that have been previously communicated by the University,” Biehl said.

To achieve these objectives, he said administrators and faculty members need to have “appropriate dialogue and maintain ongoing communication efforts in this area.”

Kostell said a main enrollment goal is to increase the campus’ outreach and recruitment. She said the admissions office works to build relationships with Chicago public schools, but they also want to increase their “international presence” to ensure that students who attend the University represent a broad spectrum of nationalities.

Although the University is well-known by Illinois resident students, Kostell said it is important that high school students nationally and internationally are familiar with the University, so they are more likely to add it to their list of top schools. To do this, she said the admissions officers will pay attention to the outlets where students get their information about their prospective schools, such as College Confidential and College Prowler.

Calvin Lear, SEC member and graduate student, said there was some concern among the SEC regarding the term “diversity” as it pertains to international enrollment on campus.

“The SEC, as always, is concerned about striking a balance between various groups represented in the enrollment (numbers),” Lear said. “Some concerns were put forward that the University may underrepresent domestic students from in-state in favor of other groups.”

However, Lear said overall, the SEC thought the report on enrollment goals would benefit the campus, allowing for a stronger pool of incoming students.

Despite the University’s limited state funds, Kostell said admissions officers are also looking for ways to reduce costs for students. She said although there are no finalized plans, they are looking to create a scholarship website, which will make it easier for students to find scholarships that fit their qualifications.

“I think affordability is always a goal,” Kostell said. “We’re really looking at how we can best utilize our limited resources to maximize affordability.”

_Lauren Rohr can be reached at rohr2