Seeking Out New Students is a Non-stop Process for SFCC’s Enrollment Management
As a general information center for South Florida Community College, the Office of Enrollment Management is often the first contact many prospective students have with SFCC. Laura White, associate dean, Enrollment Management/University Relations, and her staff often see over 100 people a week in their offices, and they work with departments all over the college to help with the student recruitment and retention.
With a variety of ways for recruiting students, the Office of Enrollment Management takes an active role in getting students interested in SFCC. The recruiting process for traditional students begins in middle school and continues through high school. The office mails postcards annually to students and hosts special events to encourage students to attend SFCC. The Eighth Grade Discovery Days and high school College for A Day programs provide potential students with tours of the campus and classroom experiences. “Students get a chance to see what college and SFCC is like through faculty and staff lectures and hands-on experiences in academic and vocational technical classrooms,” White said. It follows up with potential recruits through direct mail and e-mail and provides applications and information about SFCC’s programs and continues to do so until the student either shows no interest or decides to apply.
The College Reach Out Program (CROP) is another tool the Office of Enrollment Management uses to recruit students. CROP is a grant-funded program that encourages students to pursue college following high school. It targets low-income, at-risk, and first-generation college students. “CROP has seen tremendous results in helping students overcome the odds,” White said. “We have had our students become the valedictorians and salutatorians of their classes, go on to medical school, and appear in the High School Musical show at Disney World. Georgia Dawkins, a former CROP student, received a full scholarship to Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) and was recently hired by ‘ABC News’ in New York.” White has even seen the parents of CROP students follow in their children’s footsteps and go on to college themselves.
Enrollment Management recruits nontraditional students as well. It provides information to the local community at malls and public events, and holds campus information sessions for the public where they discuss general college information, admissions, and financial aid. “When adults request information, they are usually ready to enter college, so our recruitment efforts with them are more intensive,” White said. “We send out letters and remain in contact with them by phone.”
“We tailor our focus to the different groups of students,” White said. “With the sixth through eleventh grade students, we focus on helping them discover their interests and encourage their persistence throughout high school. For the high school seniors and the adult population, we focus on their college goals, financial aid, and the admissions process.”
However, the Office of Enrollment Management’s work does not end with recruitment. Once a student has enrolled at SFCC, retention becomes the focus. “We work with Student Services to do call outs and other follow-up services as requested by other departments,” White said. Call outs are made to any students who aren’t returning paperwork, are on probation, or are otherwise at risk. It’s an intervention to help current students follow through with their efforts.