New generation results in high application numbers

Wednesday marked Ohio University’s priority application deadline, and the sheer number of applicants for the class of 2016 puts the university in a better place than previous years.

The university has received 15,650 applications as of last Friday, an all-time record ousting the about 14,200 reported in 2009, said Craig Cornell, vice provost for enrollment management.

“I think it is positive in the sense that it shows interest,” Cornell said.

“Applications are about interest.”

At least 13,000 applications have come in each year since 2007, though there is no traceable trend from year to year, according to the preliminary application numbers.

But the recent OU marketing and recruitment restructure could mean this won’t be the case for long.

“Ohio University’s Admissions office is now more active than ever,” Cornell said.
Changes this year include newer admissions staff members, increased marketing and out-of-state recruiting, and increased efforts to align OU’s strategic enrollment management plan, which would diversify outreach activities.

 “When you reach out to these new markets, you start to get the name of OU out there where a student may not have heard of our school in the past,”
Cornell said.

The school is improving its marketing strategy through commercials, billboards and ads. Officials also built a budget allowing them to efficiently target the out-of-state population, he said.

“We have been monitoring the admissions numbers and are planning carefully to be sure that all of our key first-year programs, from Bobcat Student Orientation to the learning communities and first-year seminars, are prepared for however many first-year students matriculate in Fall 2012,” said David Descutner, dean of the University College.  

C. Todd Jones, president and general counsel of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio, said the increase in applications can be associated with a newer generation: Students no longer have to pay for every application online, and some schools offer a common application, making the
process easier.

“There are more applications for the same number of students,” Jones said.

“There has been an increase in applications nationwide for years at nearly all institutions with a concomitant reduction on enrollment rates per application because of the advent of online

In addition to quantity, Cornell said application quality increased significantly.
“It signals that their efforts are working effectively and brings them guidance on how to shape their efforts for the future,” said Becky Watts, chief of staff to OU President Roderick McDavis.

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