Presidents’ Day weekend marked an influx of prospective students on campus, with about 140 prospective students and more than 330 people in attendance including their families. Admitted Students Day, Feb. 14, was an opportunity for prospective students who have already been accepted to Lewis & Clark to visit campus and participate in events put on by the Admissions Office.
Vice President of Admissions and Financial Aid Eric Staab said via email that there was a 30% increase in attendance since last year.
“The program on Friday had 131 students in attendance. Last year we had 103 attend the same program,” Staab said via email.
The prospective students that came over the weekend were part of the Early Action subset, meaning they applied before Nov. 1. Faculty and staff were notified that many prospective students would be on campus affecting parking availability. According to Serena Frisina, senior assistant dean in Admissions, the Admissions Office is providing more opportunities than usual for students to visit LC. Later in the semester, there are events for prospective students who applied during Regular Decision as they will get their admittance letters later on.
The program during Presidents’ Day weekend is typically popular. Many high school students are encouraged to apply Early Action. This is a non-binding alternative to Early Decision, which requires the applicant to drop all other applications to other schools but still improves a students’ chance of getting into their preferred school.
“We’ve only reached out to about half of our applicant pool so far,” Frisina said. “We have Regular Decision applications and we will notify them in March so we don’t know what the registrations look like for future events.”
Outreach, follow-up and admitted student campaigns are essential to colleges who aim to increase or maintain their incoming class sizes. Catlin Peel, associate director of marketing at Public Affairs and Communications, mentioned an email campaign where current LC students reach out to talk with prospective students and answer any questions they may have.
“We chose some students, some seniors and juniors, to include their photo and then also just have a quick email that talks about like ‘I’m big on going overseas. I went on two programs’ and ‘this is what Lewis & Clark can offer’,” Peel said. “Having these emails come from the students in their voice (is better than) us just saying, ‘It’s cool here, we promise.’”
Student ambassadors are tasked with helping prospective students navigate tours and events. Ary Hashim ’20, an LC student leader within the Admissions department, elaborated on the role of student ambassadors.
“The student ambassadors serve as, kind of, the gateway to the college for prospective students,” Hashim said.
According to Hashim the large number of prospective students was unexpected.
“I can only really speak to my portion of the day’s events … we were all understaffed for that because we weren’t expecting such big numbers,” Hashim said. “But in the end, we managed to accommodate every student and I would argue that was the case for the wider (group).”
Despite these increased numbers, enrollment numbers for the next academic year are not set in stone. Until Decision Day, Admissions will not know for certain which percentage of applicants are committing to LC.
“Our target for enrolling first-year students this fall is 525 students,” Staab said. “This is slightly higher than the 507 that matriculated this past fall, but I don’t think this is a drastic increase in enrollment. Important to remember, however, is that we have no idea how many students will matriculate this coming fall until students respond by the May 1 reply deadline. Until mid-May, I will have no idea how large the new class will be.”