Have you been looking around campus this new school year and wondering, “Who are these people? I’ve never seen them before. Am I losing it? Is this the end?” You’re not alone, and there’s a good reason for all the unfamiliar faces. That reason? New students! As a new year begins to take shape, let’s take a step back into the past to remember last year. And by last year, I’m specifically talking about admissions.
For new kids out there or those who somehow completely missed it, admissions was a hot topic on Covenant’s campus due to some changes made in the department and the turnover of staff. But what about admissions now? What has admissions been doing over the summer?
For starters, let’s talk facts. Brad Tomas, Assistant Vice President of Enrollment Management, said that Covenant’s goal for this school year was 250 new students. “We were on target leading up to move-in day and O-Week, however fell just shy of that goal with an incoming class of 246,” said Tomas.
Those 246 new students are broken up into 223 freshman, 21 transfer students, and 2 re-admit students. Tomas also mentioned that missing the mark on this goal was not due to lack of effort.
In fact, Anne Fuller, an admissions counselor and Covenant College alumna (’18), agrees that effort was that not the issue. Fuller said that enrollment numbers have been downtrending since 2014 due to “turnover, vacant positions, and negligence.”
She mentioned, however, that higher education across the US has taken a blow as well, creating low enrollment across the country.
“Due to downtrending numbers,” Fuller said, “our 2019 goals were adjusted based on predicted enrollment outcomes. Despite predictions, we aimed high and I’m glad to say we came just 4 students shy of our goal.” Pretty good, admissions, pretty good.
So let’s go back a little. Tomas said, “As the campus is well aware, there have been some difficult years in the admissions office,” (hence admissions being a hot topic on Covenant’s campus last year). Because of this, tremendous strides were taken to better improve the admissions department and process as a whole.
For starters, several new staff have been added this summer. Tomas said that Alana Clinksclae was hired as an admissions counselor, focusing on recruiting students from Atlanta and central Georgia. Henry Paris (’18) was hired as a part-time admission representative to help represent Covenant at more places this fall during what Tomas calls the “busiest travel season.” Along with these new members to the staff, this summer Erik Vitolins was also promoted to Assistant Director of Admissions. Exciting stuff for our admissions friends!
Along with these changes in staff, Fuller explained that those in the office have been making a huge effort as well to better the admissions department as a whole.
She said that Claire Hirte, Associate Director of Admissions, “rallied the office by equipping us with new digital tools, better training, direction, and care.”
Fuller also mentioned that Tomas added Covenant to the Common Application, a non-profit organization that allows applicants to more easily apply to the colleges and universities that sign up with the company, over 800 schools currently.
Admissions counselors have also been working hard to raise numbers, as they have “literally made strides all over the US, striving to cover more ground,” as Fuller puts it.
Jennifer Thompson, Coordinator of Admissions Operations, has also played a vital role in trying to elevate the admissions department. Thompson explained that this year she has been working on implementing Covenant’s new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software called Slate. Slate is said to help improve modern admissions and advancement by allowing admissions departments to deal with things like applications, test scores, and other materials in one comprehensive area.
“[Slate] is a pretty powerful admissions recruitment tool,” she said. “After just four months of working with the new CRM, I can already see advances in our office where slower, outdated processes have been streamlined and brought up to industry standards.”
Bottom line: admissions is making big moves everyday to combat some of the low numbers that have presented themselves in the past. Whether it’s implementing new software, figuring out how to make the admissions process more accessible, or traveling across the country to present what Covenant has to offer, everyone in admissions has kicked it into high gear. Along with admissions themselves, there are more people who can help the department reach their goals. That’s right, those people are students!
“I believe that all students are ambassadors and recruiters for the college,” Tomas explains. “All the students who contribute, whether by leading tours, making phone calls, hosting students overnight, or other ways, are essential to helping prospective students understand what life at Covenant is truly like.” Students play no small role in the admissions and decision making process for prospective students.
Fuller mentioned that there are ways for students themselves to be involved in the admissions process, and she even goes so far as to say that if there is anything that a student enjoys about Covenant, get involved in admissions.
“Host a student, talk to your high school friends about Covenant, interview to be a student caller next year. Or just be a super cool person and attract super cool people to campus. Simple as that.”
Since everyone knows we’re all super cool people here, sounds like we’ve got it covered. You hear that, admissions enrollment goal? We’re coming for you.