University Business May 2018 - 34

ADMISSION
on the

SPOT

A TEAM EFFORT-Unity College's
annual Instant Admissions Day
includes an outdoor activity, an
Experience Your Major opportunity
and an admissions interview.

Some institutions put out a wider welcome mat. William Paterson University in
New Jersey, for example, allows anyone to
sign up for its three fall and three spring
instant decision days, says Ken Schneider,
director of undergraduate admissions. Up
to 30 students can register in advance to
attend an instant decision day, but sometimes walk-ins are allowed. After a miniinterview with a college counselor, each
participant gets an unofficial admission de-

A SAMPLE SCHEDULE:

Bard College's Immediate Decision
Plan on-campus visit

9 a.m.

Continental breakfast with
opportunities for conversation
with current students and
admission counselors

9:45 a.m.

Brief introduction by the director
of admission explaining the
day's schedule 

10 a.m.

Classes start for groups of
prospective students; family and
friends attend an information
session with President Melik
Peter Khoury

11 a.m.

Current students escort prospective
students and their guests from
classes and the information
session to the admission office

11:30 am.
to 2 p.m.

REST OF
AFTERNOON

34 | May 2018

Half-hour individual
interviews begin
Prospective students and families
can explore the 500-plus-acre
campus, with information about
campus facilities and resources
provided by admissions

cision, which is followed by an official offer
by mail, once all the official paperwork is
reviewed.
In cases where the student is not offered admission, the counselor can guide
the student toward ways to get accepted,
such as by taking the SAT again or improving a particular grade.
To avoid disappointment, Schneider
advises trying to provide guidance to students before they register for an instant
decision day event regarding who is most
likely to hear good news at such events.
William Paterson strives to make its standards clear, though some students do slip
through and end up discovering at instant
decision day that they have some more
work to do before being admitted.
At Bard College in New York, students
can sign up for one of several Instant Decision Plan days. On campus, groups of
students discuss two pieces of assigned literature or philosophy, and participate in
a 30-minute interview with an admissions
staff member.
The process allows both the student
and the college to assess fit, says Mackie
Siebens, director of admission. "This process is a two-way street." Official decisions get communicated a few days later.
Wells College in New York, meanwhile, holds instant decision days on and
off campus. During visits to high schools
and out-of-town alumni events, Vice
President for Enrollment Services Kishan

Zuber and her team schedule interviews
with potential applicants in coffee shops
or in their schools.
Although off-campus instant decisions
are appealing to students, the team has
found on-campus visits are most effective.
"The conversion rate is much higher," says
Zuber, "because it creates an emotional
connection."
2. How do these days
impact enrollment?
"From the college's standpoint, the challenge is getting on students' radars," says
Hawkins. After all, the earlier a college
gets into a student's head, the more likely
attending becomes a serious consideration.
Timing is an important factor-an instant decision day in September or October takes the pressure off students if they're
admitted, while waiting until March or
April eliminates many of the benefits to
both student and school.
The key idea is to move prospective
students through the admissions funnel-
from inquiry to applicant phase-quickly,
says Hawkins. That makes the conversion
from accepted student to enrolled student
more likely.
Students who participate in the day are
more likely to enroll. At William Paterson
these applicants are two to three times
more likely to enter what the university
refers to as "Pioneer Life."
Unity's single instant decision day typiwww.universitybusiness.com


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