Freshmen applications up 30 percent

Interest in NKU is on the rise from potential freshmen students, with applications for the class of 2017 up over 30 percent, according to an announcement made by Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management Paul Orscheln at the Jan. 9 Board of Regents meeting.

The reasons for this dramatic increase vary, Orscheln said, and could include new university recruitment plans, the school’s transition to Division I, a revamp in the freshman scholarship program and exciting changes such as the new president and construction on campus.

“This past fall we participated in generating a more robust recruitment strategy,” Orscheln said. “We’ve been much more aggressive overall.”

Norse Days are a major success in the new recruitment strategies, according to Orscheln. Norse Days are a way for prospective students to visit campus, tour housing, grab lunch and have major-specific meetings with faculty and the surrounding campus community.

Director of Admissions Melissa Gorbandt said the new Norse Days campus-visit program resulted in a seven percent increase in campus visits for the fall of 2012.

However, Gorbandt said she believes these new “more aggressive” recruitment strategies are working hand-in-hand with the changes at NKU to increase interest in the university.

“We’ve been able to tell the NKU story more comprehensively,” Gorbandt said. “Students and parents are seeing NKU and its campus change dramatically.”

The quantity of applicants is not the only unique thing about applications this school year. According to Gorbandt the quality of applicants is also increasing.

In 2008, according to Gorbandt, 130 students who applied for scholarships had a composite ACT score of 29 or higher, compared to the 205 students in 2012. Overall, Gorbandt said the result was a 58 percent increase in what Gorbandt calls the “high achieving student” freshman applicant pool at NKU.

Also helping to increase prospective students’ interest, in fall 2012 NKU changed its traditional freshman scholarship program into a rolling scholarship program.

According to Orscheln, this change has allowed scholarships to be offered to freshmen students as early in the school year as October, closer to when they apply. The new program doesn’t require an additional scholarship application to be filled out like in previous years.

The ability to offer scholarships earlier in the school year, according to Orscheln, has allowed many students to make their decisions about post-secondary education a lot earlier on, before being offered admission and scholarships elsewhere.

According to Assistant Director of Admissions Melanie Grindle, all of the changes at NKU have helped change the perception of NKU, especially in the minds of the local community.

“Over the last three to four years we’ve seen a big change in high school students’ perception of NKU,” she said. “We’re no longer the school in everyone’s backyard… We are now many students’s number one pick.”