New Admitted Student Preview Days Designed to Increase Enrollment

EMM’s Office of Undergraduate Admission made significant changes recently to DePaul’s Admitted Student Preview Days. These events drew over 1,000 admitted students and their families to campus last spring, providing an in-depth look at life at DePaul and playing a crucial factor in a student’s decision to enroll. Students get a chance to tour campus, meet with advisors, attend sample classes, learn more about their college of interest and connect with faculty and staff.

The changes eliminated the large-scale admitted student weekend event—which used to take place over a weekend in March—to create smaller, college-specific events between February and April, targeting students who were admitted both early and later in the spring. Undergraduate Admission piloted the college-specific preview days in March 2017, alongside the larger weekend event, before fully implementing the new strategy in 2018. The result: 15 preview days focused on individual colleges with no more than 100 students each.

“A smaller event creates a more personalized experience for students,” explains Sally Baker, associate director in Undergraduate Admission. “We can give 100 students more dedicated attention than we can a crowd of 800. The new format also helps us compete with schools who provide this kind of individualized service at their admitted student events, simply because they are smaller than DePaul.”

The smaller preview days allow students to have closer interactions with faculty and staff, and even their own peers. College-specific events also mean students can delve deeper into their college of interest, as faculty design and tailor the event content to their college. In 2018, there were two preview days each for the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, College of Communication and College Education, and three for the College of Business, College of Computing and Digital Media, and College of Science and Health.
 
Implementing Slate for the registration and communication processes for the events was a critical part of their success. Students are able to create customized agendas for their day via Slate’s event registration process (which applicants access through the Blue Demon Domain online portal), where they can choose tours, book appointments with advisors, receive reminders and even join a waitlist if a session is full. If a student cancels their registration, Slate sends an automated message acknowledging their cancelation and provides other dates as potential options.

“While preview days leave a lasting positive impression on students, Slate’s functionality provides students a first-class technological experience before they even set foot on campus,” shares Rob Galarza, recruitment technology specialist in EMM’s Recruitment Systems and Technology. “Through Slate we can better cater to each student’s needs as they prepare for their day, and on our end, we can manage communications and capture the data we need more effectively.”

Overall, the new preview day strategy contributed to an increase in the deposit rate for those who attended, with 66 percent of attendees depositing in 2018 compared with 59 percent in 2017. Plans for 2019 include increasing the number of preview days and incorporating transfer students, who would receive both separate and combined programming with freshmen.
 
For more information about DePaul’s Admitted Student Preview Days, contact Sally Baker, associate director in Undergraduate Admission.
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