Posted at 10:30 p.m. April 2, 2014

Student orientation becomes mandatory
to guide students in the right direction

Representatives from Laramie County Community College’s Admissions and Recruitment office presented information on a new effort to make student orientation mandatory for degree-seeking students at a dinner prior to the Board of Trustees meeting April 2.

LCCC’s admission representatives, Sarah Hannes and Josh Nighswonger, told board members a mandatory student orientation would put students on the right path for completing their degrees.

“Students who come to LCCC need to be aware of all services and programs that are accessible to them,” Hannes said.
Nighswonger said students are often lost and confused with the admission process and need to be guided to ensure they complete their degrees on time at LCCC.

Recruiting was another key topic in the meeting as well as promoting a positive image of LCCC while prospecting in communities in Colorado, South Dakota, Nebraska and Wyoming.

“We want everything we’re doing to line up with where LCCC’s going, their mission,” Nighswonger said.

In the past, LCCC admission representatives used the “12-gauge” method of recruiting, sometimes traveling to towns hundreds of miles away in efforts to recruit students. However, since last fall the representatives have implemented “laser-pointer focus” by concentrating on students closer to home. Since implementing their new strategy, they’ve participated in 68 college fairs, 65 high school visits, making contact with 1,250 students resulting in more than 80 requests for additional information from prospective students and more than 220 student tours of the LCCC.

While on the topic of the activity of LCCC’s admission representatives, Trustee Don Erickson asked, “What’s the return on investment?” Nighswonger gave the example of results being likened to an upside-down triangle. “Since 2012, it’s been starting big on top with the total number of student prospects; 25 percent of all prospects fill out a college application, and 40 percent of all applicants register as students.”

Some numbers presented suggested LCCC’s recruitment strategy is working. Last year, of 100 students graduating from Cheyenne South High School, 63 started taking courses at LCCC.

With all the face-to-face interaction it takes to encourage someone to resolve to be an Eagle, it’s fair to assume LCCC’s admissions and recruitment team may not have the greatest technology or social media tools. But in 2011, LCCC was one of eight two-year colleges in the nation to receive a three-year $80,000 grant for resources to help attract and retain students, including a private Facebook app with which students and prospects can interact and learn more about what LCCC has to offer.

LCCC President Dr. Joe Schaffer concluded the meeting by asking, “What are the top three challenges we’re facing in recruiting?” Scholarships were the biggest issue because students compare them as they do cars, Nighswonger said. Resources and becoming connected with peers came second. Lastly, insufficient housing has been a perpetual problem and concern for students who need to travel long distances, Nighswonger said.