Using Creativity and Innovation to Boost Student Applications
Kent State’s Office of Admissions has created so much excitement and buzz about the university that the number of students who visited this summer and applied for admission on Aug. 1 has surged.
That buzz showed up in an increased number of students who attended July Preview KSU days and a surge of applicants when the summer/fall 2024 application process opened on Aug. 1, according to Collin Palmer, associate vice president of enrollment management in the Office of Admissions.
When the 2024 application process for new students opened on Aug. 1 , the numbers showed an increase of applicants that surpassed the previous year by 54%.
There were 365 applications from first-year, domestic freshman applicants on the Kent campus on Aug. 1, an increase over the 237 applications in 2022. Ninety-five of the applicants attended July Preview KSU events, a 144% increase over the 39 students who attended in 2022. And, there was a 46% increase in first-generation applicants on the first day of applications.
Kent State’s Admissions Office is seeing its hard work, creativity and strategic planning pay off by way of increased engagement and an elevated level of interest in the university.
“There was a lot of really great momentum happening on the first day of the application being opened,” Palmer said. “Interest in Kent State is strong.”
Outreach and Engagement Efforts
To achieve this engagement, Kent State elevates the creative ways it performs outreach and engages prospective students to increase application rates.
Last February Kent State joined other universities at the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC), which holds in-person and virtual college fairs across the United States every year.
Kent State introduced to prospective students an innovative booth at the Cleveland and Pittsburgh NACAC fairs to bring to life the experiences and energy students will experience as Golden Flashes.
Prospective applicants can get a taste of Kent State by viewing videos on an Admissions YouTube channel, which features students and alumni telling their stories.
A digital Viewbook that highlights student stories and conveys Kent State’s Students First priority is available for prospective students.
Town-Gown is Important
To increase engagement in the community, the Admissions Office has hired Sherri Parks, an associate director of strategic recruitment, to align with the goals of the division, Palmer said. Parks will work closely with the cities of Kent, Cleveland, Akron and beyond.
Parks is working with community-based organizations because the Admissions Office recognizes that what makes Kent State strong is the partnership with the city and the things available to do in the surrounding areas.
“It’s about town-gown and our relationship with the city and other communities,” Palmer said. “Sherri manages our partnership with DC CAP, the Washington DC College access program. It is about being intentional about building relationships and pathways to Kent State for students who otherwise wouldn’t typically see a pathway to Kent State for themselves.”
On the Horizon
The Admissions Office will hit the road from Labor Day to November, visiting high schools, community colleges and attending college fairs. Last year they visited more than 700 high schools and this year the number will be between 700 and 800 high schools. In addition, fall preview days are coming up on Oct. 27 and Nov. 3.
“What drives the Office of Admissions is something that President Todd Diacon says a lot, and that is we want Kent State to be for the meritorious many, not the fortunate few,” Palmer said, “That just drives a lot of what we do.”
Fast Facts About This Year’s Applications:
The first application was submitted at 12:03 a.m. and the last was submitted at 11: 57 p.m.
There were 123 applicants who indicated they were first-generation vs. 84 in 2022.
Summit and Cuyahoga counties tied with 33 applicants each. Stark – 23; Medina – 22; Lake - 17
There were applications from 50 of the 88 Ohio counties.
Eighty-six of the applications were from out of state (24%).
Fifty-four applications were from Pennsylvania.
Mentor High School in Mentor, Ohio, one of the largest high schools in Ohio and the largest in Northeast Ohio, had the most applicants from one school, at seven.