University Business May 2018 - 35

Instant decision day variations
cally results in filling one-third of the following year's freshman class, says Khoury.
Getting the stressful admission decision out of the way quickly allows counselors to spend more time helping students
choose the right activities and courses of
study. The focus shifts from getting in to
finding the best fit within the university.
3. Are they a drain on resources?
Those most impacted by instant decision
days are admissions counselors, who end
up working longer days trying to speak
with every student who registered for a
decision. The number of counselors available for such meetings is frequently the
bottleneck for expansion of the program,
says Siebens at Bard, which will continue
to limit participation in its Instant Decision Plan Days.
Wells' decision to meet with applicants
on and off campus extends the recruiters'
travel season from August into December.
"They're worn out by the end," says Zuber.
William Paterson caps the number of
students who can participate in instant
decision days to ensure everyone can
meet with admission counselors. Schneider concedes that the events cost the university money, and the tour guides' and
counselors' time. Yet on the flip side is the
strong enrollment ROI.
4. Are instant decision days right for
my institution?
Hawkins of NACAC doesn't see much
appeal for Ivy League-level or highly competitive institutions, where the number of
applicants continues to rise and the percent accepted is in the single or low double digits. However, regional and open
enrollment schools with well-defined admissions criteria can raise their visibility
and potentially increase their yield rate.
Enrollment teams can also get an idea
about how the coming admissions cycle
will play out. Unity uses it as a baromwww.universitybusiness.com

College/
Enrollment

Event: When
and where

Before
the day

The day's
agenda

Unity College
(Maine)/
665 students

One dedicated
day in
September

Invited students
submit application
with transcript,
recommendations
and test scores

Separate scheduled
activities for students
and parents; students
receive decision
that day

William
Paterson
University
(New Jersey)/
11,518
students

3 events each
fall, 3 each spring
on campus;
plus 20 on-site
events at local
high schools

Up to 30 students
can register in
advance; required
documents can be
uploaded to the
website in advance
or brought that day

Individual miniinterviews with
counselors, who give
an unofficial decision
on the spot that's
followed by an official
offer by mail after
paperwork reviewed

Bard College First three
(New York)/
Fridays and
2,469 students Saturdays in
November
on campus

Capacity capped
at 45 students;
students complete all paperwork in advance

Groups rotate
between discussions
on literature or
philosophy, and then
each student meets
with an admissions
staffer. Emails alert
students of decision
the following
Monday; letters are
also mailed.

Wells College
(New York)/
500 students

On campus and
off; admissions
staffers schedule
interviews with
potential applicants
during visits to high
schools and out-oftown alumni events

Students meet with
admission counselor;
if on campus, can
then take a tour
or meet with a
faculty member
before returning to
admissions for a
decision.

December 15

eter. "Instant admissions day gives us a
sense of what students are focused on,
how driven they are to get to college and
what they are looking for a college to offer them," says Khoury. "It helps us understand what the next group of environ-

mental leaders is going to need to meet
their college and career goals."

Marcia Layton Turner is a Rochester, New
York-based writer.
May 2018 | 35


http://www.universitybusiness.com

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University Business May 2018 - Cover1
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