Online initiatives attract new students, fall enrollment numbers stay afloat
Xavier’s Office of Admissions announced that the university is on pace to meet its enrollment projections, largely due to quickly initiated online forums and virtual campus tours offered to prospective students.
Since the campus closure, the Office of Admissions updated its online presence through a new webpage called XU to YOU. The site has links to Zoom forums, virtual tours and mock classes for prospective students.
Xavier has avoided the national trend of dipping enrollment numbers due to COVID-19. The American Council on Education predicts a 15% drop in enrollment across the nation, a statistic impacting other local colleges, including Miami University.
Nonetheless, Aaron Meis, the vice president for enrollment management and student success, announced that Xavier is expecting to reach its enrollment goal of 1,180 first-year students. He also announced a re-enrollment rate that is on track with projections.
Incoming first-year nursing major Kazmin Perkins noted that these online events gave her an insight into the campus and community, despite not being able to visit regularly scheduled events.
“I’ve been able to go to the Zoom calls, one for diversity and one of the mock classes for nursing,” Perkins said. “Considering the whole situation, I do think it was a good insight. Obviously, it’s not the same as being on campus… but I was still able to see a lot of things.”
Student workers and admissions officers also hosted several Zoom forums to allow undecided high school seniors to ask questions about Xavier. These forums take the place of admissions events like X Day and XU Preview Day.
Student Ambassador for the Admissions Office Marina Salazar participated as a cohost in several forums with undecided students. Salazar noted that online meet-and-greets typically included approximately 35 prospective students, notably fewer than the typical attendance for large admissions event.
Students cannot commit to Xavier during these virtual events but are sent a survey afterward to ask where they currently stand in the decision-making process.
Prospective and committed students are also finding innovative ways to connect despite the campus closure. Incoming first-year student Parth Patel noted that social media has been a space for him to connect with students instead of attending events. He’s met some incoming students through the MeetXU2024 page on the XU to YOU site, which shows photos of committed students alongside their names and majors.
The XU to YOU site also hosts regional meet-ups through Zoom, which allows prospective and committed students to meet other students in their areas.
Patel typically uses Twitter and Instagram direct messages to reach out to other committed students and has joined group chats to meet other incoming first-years. He noted that these connections, however, did not fully replicate the traditional admissions experience.
“This is not what I expected, to be honest,” Patel said. “I just hope this quarantine can end before fall semester…Having online classes at the beginning of my first year would suck.”
Committed students are also being sent baskets with hand sanitizer, socks, and other Xavier items. Incoming first-years who post a photo of themselves online also receive a Xavier sweatshirt.
“Students are looking at how colleges are treating incoming students,” Salazar said, noting that she believes Xavier has stood out positively in the way it’s treating current and incoming students. “And students still seem really enthused about Xavier!”
Additionally, two student ambassadors from the Office of Admissions are introducing students to campus from afar through virtual tours. These tours allow prospective students to experience campus virtually while the students speak through a prerecorded video. Junior Student Ambassador Mia Lynd participated in the videos and noted that she is glad the tour was able to be completed before the campus closed.
Incoming first-year political science major Anthony Bartosiewicz committed to Xavier a week into quarantine. He planned on committing in person during the XU Preview Day event but waited after the event’s cancellation due to COVID-19.
“I just walked up to my mom and said, ‘Well, I’m committing now,’” Bartosiewicz said. He then committed online from his couch in his Xavier gear. Bartosiewicz noted that while his commitment location was different than planned, the prospect of going to Xavier in the fall has kept him positive.
“Everything is so crazy, everything feels so out of control, but there’s one thing in the distance that I can look at and say, ‘I’m going there,’” Bartosiewicz.
Categories: Campus News