The 2020 experience

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As the leaves start to change and summer turns the corner into fall, another season officially comes underway on college campuses: recruitment for the Class of 2020.

If college recruitment had a season opener, at DePauw it would be the first “Fall Friday” of the year for prospective high school seniors.

Last Friday, 40 prospective students and their families arrived on campus in what at first appeared to be a miserable day weather wise, but nevertheless, the excited visitors braved the rainy morning as their day at DePauw began.

Similar to last year, the Fall Friday program allows  prospective students to be completely immersed in the typical day at DePauw while also offering programming for the parents.

Prospective students are each paired with a DePauw student host who they will spend the day attending classes and eating lunch with as well as meeting some of their host’s friends. While prospective student and host are mostly paired by academic interest, prospective students will probably attend classes outside of the realm they are interested in, allowing them to see the basic overview of the DePauw experience: a well-rounded education.

Filling 40 of the 50 reserved spots for the first Fall Friday, Vice President of Admission and

Financial Aid, Cindy Babington, believes recruitment’s “season opener” went well for Admissions and believes it will continue on that track for the upcoming Class of 2020.

A reason Fall Fridays are so successful is because prospective students actually feel what it is like to be on campus.

“I believe it is important for students to get on campus and realize the value of an education at DePauw compared to other schools,” said Babington.

In a time of increasing college tuition, the price of a private liberal arts education may seem unnecessary to those drawn to a lesser public state school price sticker; however, Babington as well as Jodi Bladen, the Director of Strategic Initiatives and Outreach, are ready to combat the common myth that a liberal arts education is irrelevant and not worth the price.

The Class of 2019 was the first class with more social media engagement with the use of hash tags being a mainstay for admissions staff, current freshman may remember receiving a giant #DEPAUW2019 sign received in their acceptance package.

For recruitment for the Class of 2020, Bladen reveals that a major goal for marketing is having prospective students follow and engage with the universities different forms of social media such as Instagram (@depauwu) and more recently Snapchat (DePauw_U).

She also considers prospective students seeing the experiences of current DePauw students on social media great for recruitment. Bladen said, “the more positive the better”.

Although DePauw’s marketing is successful, “financial aid is one of the top three reasons students are not choosing DePauw,” Babington said.

Despite this, DePauw maintained the discount rate and met revenue goals for the Class of 2019, and plan on doing something similar for the Class of 2020.

Regarding size, Babington stated that the ideal goal for the Class of 2020 is similar or even larger than the Class of 2019, which as of now is the second largest class in the past five years.

Unlike last year though, Admissions would like to decrease the selectivity for the incoming class.

To accomplish this goal, recruitment for the Class of 2020 will extend more to areas like

California and Texas as well as states such as North Carolina and Tennessee in the South East and the mid-Atlantic region while also continuing with their current pull from popular regions such as Indiana, Chicago and its suburbs.

Babington notes part of this outreach is due to the declining amount of graduating seniors across the country but particularly more so in the Midwest.  

Of course, character as well as academic success is always a staple to many liberal arts students.

Quinci Miller agrees on the types of qualities of the incoming class should have. “I think students should have a strong GPA,” says current freshman Quinci Miller. “But also be involved outside of their school helping with their community in volunteer work or extracurricular activities as well,”

In the end, the right prospective students will find their fit on DePauw’s campus, ready to immerse themselves in all the different opportunities DePauw has to offer as part of the Class of 2020.