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DePaul Expands Recruitment Efforts on the West Coast

In recent years, the number of high school graduates in the Midwest has declined. At the same time, Illinois has been exporting high school graduates at a faster rate as a growing proportion of students are choosing to study out-of-state, compared with past years. These trends are directly impacting DePaul’s freshman recruitment efforts as the majority of first-year students come from Illinois.

The West Coast, in the meantime, has seen a rise in high school graduates over the last few years, and California now has the highest number of high school graduates in the nation, according to a report from the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.  

EMM’s Office of Undergraduate Admission has been expanding its recruitment efforts outside of Illinois for a number of years. Out-of-state freshman have comprised around 40 percent of the class the past few years (compared with 22 percent 15 years ago). This year, however, efforts are being taken to a new level with the creation of a regional recruiter position dedicated to the West Coast full-time. The new recruiter, Annie Mills, started in July 2017 and is based in San Diego, California.

“We’re taking a more intentional, proactive approach to our regional recruitment,” says Carlene Klaas, dean of Undergraduate Admission. “Annie’s presence makes us more flexible than our previous practice of sending admission representatives there for blocks of time out of the year. With a dedicated person year-round, supplemented by admission staff who will travel there as needed, we can cover more ground and take advantage of more recruitment activities.”

So many elements affect admission, many beyond a university’s control. News media, sports, publicity, the actions of competing institutions, student interests, even weather, are all contributing factors to how students, along with their families, make decisions on where to go to college. DePaul’s ability to differentiate itself is crucial to boosting recruitment in regions that may be less familiar with DePaul.

“Chicago really is our campus and faculty use it as a classroom. It’s part of the DePaul student experience to be immersed in the city and engage in real-world experiences and learning opportunities,” shares Klaas. “Our Chicago connections provide students access to employers, career networks and internships. These are key elements of our brand that we focus on in our regional recruitment.”   

To further distinguish a DePaul education, Undergraduate Admission is also revising recruitment materials to paint a clearer picture of what it means to be a student at DePaul. Additionally, EMM’s Web Communications department has recently launched new online campus tours, which will help to bridge the distance so that prospective students can more easily visualize themselves on campus. 

Another growing region is the South, as Texas specifically has the second highest number of high school graduates in the nation. The Office of Undergraduate Admission is monitoring the region, and other states with growth, to assess the viability of supplementing recruitment in those areas with full-time regional recruiters.

“The key to success is to expand regional recruitment without eroding efforts in our primary market,” says David Kalsbeek, senior associate vice president for EMM. “More and more universities coast to coast are investing full-time recruitment efforts here in Chicago, for the same reasons we are investing in California. So as we continue to expand regionally, we cannot take our local market for granted.”   

For more information about undergraduate admission at DePaul, visit the website. To learn more about DePaul’s recruitment activities in the West, contact Carlene Klaas​.