Successful recruitment efforts seen in Emporia State enrollment numbers


For the first time in the past five years, Emporia State’s enrollment numbers show an increase in new freshmen, transfer and graduate-level students. And for the first time in more than a decade, the new freshmen’s average ACT score is higher than 22, rising nearly a full point above its previous 21.6.

The larger incoming class is one of the first results of new efforts to boost enrollment. “Our new recruiting strategies have been successful,” said Dr. James Williams, vice-president for student affairs, who leads the enrollment management team at Emporia State. “Now we have to retain this group.”

The Kansas Board of Regents reported Emporia State’s enrollment of 5,867 students, which is down 1.8 percent from the Fall 2011 figures. However, university officials anticipate the larger incoming class indicates a trend toward greater overall enrollment in coming years.

“The growth of this institution is critical to the future of Emporia State,” said Dr. Michael D. Shonrock, Emporia State University president, “and we recognize the positive economic impact of growth in the Emporia community, Lyon County and state of Kansas.”

To recruit this year’s new group of students, Emporia State launched an integrated marketing campaign that included billboard and television advertising in urban Kansas markets and high-energy events like Hornet Night in Overland Park and the Hornet Telethon on campus. Also key was increases in scholarship opportunities for new and transfer students thanks to a $7.5 million commitment from the Emporia State University Foundation.

Both recruitment and retention are the keys to enrollment growth, and the university launched several new programs that focus on helping students become successful. The programs include the E-Experience that brought new students to campus in July before the school year began, the Six Week Series that expands traditional orientation activities through midterms of the first semester and CW 101: College Experience Seminar, a one-credit course in the fall semester that provides tools and resources to navigate the first year of college.

Another new program is PALs or Peer Academic Leaders. In the program, students work with the Student Advising Center to mentor first-year students.