Concern over enrollment drop, new plan promising

by Jake Hawkins
Managing Editor

The Transylvania class of 2015 is small, and not just because it’s the first-year class.

Vice President for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions Brad Goan confirmed that this year’s first-year class of 259 students is 55 fewer than last year’s and 51 fewer than the average over the last five years.

Admissions Ambassador and senior Amelia Reesor leads a tour for prospective students.

“We have seen a considerable increase in the numbers of students choosing state universities over Transylvania,” said Goan. “These students are telling us they believe Transylvania is a better school, but they can’t or won’t justify the investment involved to attend. Ultimately, this is our greatest challenge.”

A strategic enrollment planning process was implemented last year before the size of the class of 2015 was known. Goan believes this will result in stronger enrollment moving forward.

The plan contains strategies clustered into four separate areas: improving Transy’s value proposition, the development of new academic and co-curricular programs, the development of new recruitment markets and the improvement of existing recruitment practices and processes.

With value proposition, Goan said, the 10-month payment plan that has long been used will be changed to a 12-month plan to lessen the month-to-month burden. Additionally, the admissions office will begin pushing things such as Transy’s high four-year graduation rate to set Transy apart from other schools.

New academic and co-curricular programs can be seen with the creation of the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams. Additionally, Goan announced that enhancements to the scholarships awarded in the fine arts will be made to attract new students.

The admissions office has also focused on new markets both abroad and out of state. Chicago is one such area where admissions counselors will be spending much more time on location than they have in years past.

“We’re putting a lot of attention on key markets outside of Kentucky,” Goan said.

The final cluster of the strategic plan involves practice and process improvement.

“(It’s about) taking what we do right now and making it better,” Goan said.

With that in mind, the admissions office has revamped the student telecounseling program. In addition, admissions will be implementing print and email cohesion with recruitment materials.

“A prospective student will receive a brochure in the mail and, shortly after, an email with a specific story from a student who studied abroad,” Goan said.

While the strategic plan, which began in the planning stages in August 2010, is not a response to the drop in enrollment, it is expected to help. And the bar is being raised for what to expect in the future.

Previous first-year targets for class size have been between 300 and 315 students, not including transfers. The target for the class of 2016 has been set at 348 new students, a 26 percent increase over this year’s first-year class.

“Many students tell us they believe Transylvania is an outstanding school, but they do not believe it is good enough to make the investment,” Goan said. “Obviously, we disagree, and many of the strategies we have employed are designed to help students and families understand why Transylvania is an incredible investment.”

The Transylvania class of 2015 is small, and not just because it’s the first-year class.

Vice President for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions Brad Goan confirmed that this year’s first-year class of 259 students is 55 fewer than last year’s and 51 fewer than the average over the last five years.

“We have seen a considerable increase in the numbers of students choosing state universities over Transylvania,” said Goan. “These students are telling us they believe Transylvania is a better school, but they can’t or won’t justify the investment involved to attend. Ultimately, this is our greatest challenge.”

A strategic enrollment planning process was implemented last year before the size of the class of 2015 was known. Goan believes this will result in stronger enrollment moving forward.

The plan contains strategies clustered into four separate areas: improving Transy’s value proposition, the development of new academic and co-curricular programs, the development of new recruitment markets and the improvement of existing recruitment practices and processes.

With value proposition, Goan said, the 10-month payment plan that has long been used will be changed to a 12-month plan to lessen the month-to-month burden. Additionally, the admissions office will begin pushing things such as Transy’s high four-year graduation rate to set Transy apart from other schools.

New academic and co-curricular programs can be seen with the creation of the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams. Additionally, Goan announced that enhancements to the scholarships awarded in the fine arts will be made to attract new students.

The admissions office has also focused on new markets both abroad and out of state. Chicago is one such area where admissions counselors will be spending much more time on location than they have in years past.

“We’re putting a lot of attention on key markets outside of Kentucky,” Goan said.

The final cluster of the strategic plan involves practice and process improvement.

“(It’s about) taking what we do right now and making it better,” Goan said.

With that in mind, the admissions office has revamped the student telecounseling program. In addition, admissions will be implementing print and email cohesion with recruitment materials.

“A prospective student will receive a brochure in the mail and, shortly after, an email with a specific story from a student who studied abroad,” Goan said.

While the strategic plan, which began in the planning stages in August 2010, is not a response to the drop in enrollment, it is expected to help. And the bar is being raised for what to expect in the future.

Previous first-year targets for class size have been between 300 and 315 students, not including transfers. The target for the class of 2016 has been set at 348 new students, a 26 percent increase over this year’s first-year class.

“Many students tell us they believe Transylvania is an outstanding school, but they do not believe it is good enough to make the investment,” Goan said. “Obviously, we disagree, and many of the strategies we have employed are designed to help students and families understand why Transylvania is an incredible investment.”

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