Class of 2018 trends emerge

KATIE GOODRICH | Asst. News Editor

On Valentine’s Day, the regular decision admission notifications went out regarding Butler University’s next freshman class.

The Office of Admission wants between 1,000 and 1,025 students in the Class of 2018, said Aimée Rust-Scheuermann, director of admission.

The exact number of students will be unknown until the Census Day on Sept. 11, said Angela Clayton, assistant registrar.

Census Day comes after the semester begins, when students can no longer drop or add classes. This determines how many students are enrolled, either part-time or full-time. Student type, such as freshman or new transfer, is also counted, Clayton said.

“There’s a little bit of the settling of the dust,” Rust-Scheuermann said. “Someone has to call the time-of-death, so to speak, on this enrollment cycle.”

The Office of admission has seen an almost 9-percent increase in applications across the board, Rust-Scheuermann said.

The office also reached out to new markets during this year’s recruitment.

“We have been very intentional in trying to get to that East Coast market when we are doing national fairs in that area,” Rust-Scheuermann said.

Atlanta, Denver metro and Washington, D.C., and its surrounding areas were newly targeted areas for admission this year.

“We are seeing some great results from those markets,” Rust-Scheuermann said. “We are getting the face-to-face and one-on-one time with those students.”

Alumni in the areas have been helpful, recommending high school visits and making calls, Rust-Scheuermann said.

Indiana and Illinois still provide the bulk of applications, but Butler admission is seeing increased growth in out-of-state applicants.

In-state applications are up  by 24 percent, while out-of-state applications are up 1 percent. There is also sustained interest from students outside of the Midwest. Women sent in 56 percent of the total applications.

Besides the health sciences program, Butler admission is still seeing a strong interest in natural sciences, like biology and chemistry, Rust-Scheuermann said.

The Office of Admission asked its team of student ambassadors, particularly the freshmen, what its recruitment was missing. The answer sparked the creation of a new visit experience for admitted students.

This visit is not an academic day associated with one of the colleges on campus.

“These (admitted) students are in a different place than a prospective student,” Rust-Scheuermann said. “They have already done their application and been admitted.”

The admitted student visit is comparable to the Explore Butler visit, which is a prospective student’s first exposure to the university. But the new visit focuses on resources and the feel of campus, Rust-Scheuermann said.

“Feel, which is not something you can market toward or say on paper, is by and large what drives the decision,” Rust-Scheuermann said.

On the admitted students visit, they learn about what happens after enrollment and sit in on a class. Students choose between 12 different courses, most of which are First Year Seminars.

Emma Salter, a sophomore student ambassador, said she enjoys the increased interaction on the admitted student visit.

“They are seriously considering our school,” Salter said. “I can connect with that prospective student feeling, and they are way more engaging.”

The admitted students see their specific academic building and hear in-depth discussion about their major, Salter said.

The tour includes a visit to Residential College and a picture in front the bulldog outside of Atherton Union. The tour ends at Star Fountain, where families decide if they want to continue with the regular tour or not, Salter said.

“It’s amazing to me to see how many students in that group are visiting campus for the first time,” Rust-Scheuermann said.

Other admitted students are returning to campus in order to help make their final decision.

“Coming back is great because it helps secure in that students mind that yes this is the right fit,” Rust-Scheuermann said. “We have to provide students the right opportunities to get that feeling in many ways.”