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Admissions looks towards the future

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The admissions office at the University does much more than just decide who is accepted and who is denied admission to the University. In order to achieve this, they have to adapt to new strategies and criteria in their search to make it as efficient as possible.

“For us, we really see our job in admission as admitting graduates of Puget Sound,” Shannon Carr, the associate vice president of admission, said. This means that when making a decision, the admissions office pays attention not only to the qualities that make an applicant a fit to the University’s community and liberal arts teaching style, but also to factors that would ensure that the students admitted will thrive here.

The search for students is more focused now since “we have much more data to show us factors that influence retention over four years and obviously through to graduation,” Carr said. This is an important new development not only for the admissions process, but also for the University as a whole. These factors help create a better community, for people that are happy with their school are more likely to work hard to obtain their degree.

In addition, the admission process this year showed that “while the number of applications is lower than what it was in previous years, the quality and mix of our students is growing positively or in the ways that we would want as a university,” Carr said. Becoming more selective in the people that the admissions office is looking for will help create a better environment for students to thrive academically. In order to achieve this, some changes had to take place.

Demographically, “we are looking to maintain our national focus. Right now most of our students are from the states of Colorado and west, but we are hoping to expand our focus and see more student applicants coming from the Northeast and the Southeast,” Carr said.

Today it is very important for universities and colleges to have a diverse student body to create a sense that everyone could find their place at that particular institution. Therefore, the admissions office is looking to expand, not only nationally but also internationally.

“We are in the process now of hiring an associate director for international admission. We really would like to increase our presence internationally and bring more international students to our university,” Carr said.

In addition to these changes, the University is also going to start being more proactive about reaching out to prospective students. “We are going to start working with students earlier in their high school career and try to cultivate a sense of awareness with students about University of Puget Sound,” Carr said.

This way students can really get a sense of the type of place the University is and apply knowing that this could be a good place for them.

Furthermore, for the past three years, the admissions office has been working on implementing a new tool called “Slate,” which facilitates communication between admissions and prospective students.

“I feel like next year we’ll really be working in our communication plans better in that tool. We’ll be thinking about the interactive ways that we can reach out and built up relationships with those students using that tool,” Carr said.

The University will soon be able to see the payoff of the admissions office’s hard work as new classes arrive at the University, bringing with them new qualities and characteristics that improve the community inside and outside the classroom.

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