Out-of-state applications increase after university targets key regions

Kelly Petryszyn

Prospective students like KSU affordability, well-known programs

The university is working to bring in more out-of-state students for Fall 2009, and according to admissions counselor Katie Cope, “It looks like we’re on the right track.”

Counselors represented Kent State for the first time in new territories as they traveled to recruit prospective students this fall. They found the university was well received, and Kent State’s reasonable cost was seen as an alternative to higher-priced universities.

Cope said when she was in the Chicago area, guidance counselors were excited to see Kent State as an out-of-state option that was affordable.

Admissions counselor Joy Loper said the low cost of Kent State was appealing, especially in areas such as Illinois where costs are so expensive.

Last semester, Kent State went from having two traveling admissions counselors to seven, Director of Admissions Nancy DellaVecchia said. Previously, Kent State representatives had reached Western Pennsylvania and Western New York.

Now, the university is reaching the greater Chicago area, New Jersey, the greater Washington, D.C., area, Maryland, Western New York, Virginia and around Pittsburgh.

Expanding out-of-state recruiting has been one of President Lester Lefton’s goals.

“(It) brings more geographic diversity and national exposure to Kent State University,” DellaVecchia said.

Another reason for out-of-state recruitment is the declining number of high school graduates in Ohio. Therefore, the number of college-bound students is decreasing, and Kent State is looking elsewhere for prospective students.

“(We) started looking to see where we can fill in students and what we can do to prepare for the future,” DellaVecchia said.

Mark Ledoux, associate director of admissions, said he expects out-of-state enrollment to increase as a result of this initiative, but the university won’t feel the full impact until later.

Currently, about 14 percent of Kent State students are from out of state, DellaVecchia said.

Admissions counselors have returned from their travels last semester and are working on follow-ups with prospective students. The counselors are making sure incomplete applications are finished. They will go on the road again in March or April to recruit students for Fall 2010.

Admissions counselor Laura Wilhelm, who was a representative at college fairs in Maryland, visited local high schools as well and said she started with about five students per visit interested in Kent State. By the end of the season, more people were starting to recognize the university.

During their travels, counselors found students interested in certain programs that Kent State is known for, such as architecture and fashion design, Loper said.

While recruiting, the counselors focused on one-on-one interaction with prospective students to make it more personal, Ledoux said.

Through this interaction, Loper said, it was important to paint a picture of what the university is like, as they are “trying to create a home away from home.”

Kent State is looking for students who are a good match for the university, have a good academic background and are more independent, Ledoux said.

Currently, the initiatives are working.

“Applications are showing an increase from out of state,” DellaVecchia said. “(We are) on the right path so far.”

Contact student affairs reporter Kelly Petryszyn at [email protected].