Keeping Recruiting Techniques and Tools Tuned to Student Preferences: Orientation Programs, Survey Research, and Electronic Communication

Article excerpt

Traditionally, orientations programs are utilized as a tool for providing information to students. At Kennesaw State University (ksu), orientation programs also are used to collect information from students. Staying abreast of student opinions is a worthwhile goal and helps attune recruiting techniques and tools to the education marketplace.

During two orientation sessions, the KSU Office of Enrollment Services conducted a survey research project among freshmen and transfer students. At the close of the sessions, students were asked to share their opinions concerning a number of topics. This article reveals their views concerning the appeal of various electronic media, including the Internet, e-mail, telephone, videos, radio, and t?.

As indicated in Table i, 595 students were surveyed. Rather than choose students randomly, we invited them to complete the survey on a voluntary basis. Even though the information collected would not have scientific validity, the results were expected to provide a good indication of new student views. Such findings offer direction for modifications to office operations and procedures.

Administering a survey to students attending orientation is somewhat akin to preaching to the choir. Orientation programs are composed of students already committed to attending the college, so it seems reasonable to expect that the the group looks favorably upon the university. Survey research projects involving those students who are undecided about attending or who have decided to attend another university also would be fruitful, as would a comparison of the survey research results of these groups with the orientation group.

The current administrative direction being pursued by the KSU Office of Admissions is one of traditional operations overlaid with an array of 24x7 electronic, web-based tools. In fall 2003, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia recognized ksu's Office of Admissions with its 2003 Best Practices Benchmarking Award. The award is issued according to accomplishments in the following areas: the Electronic Application & SAT Data Push, Document Imaging Systems (used not only for archival purposes but also for front-counter handling of student inquiries), the Web-Based Georgia High School Directory, the Freshman Admissions Predictor (a self-administered web-based exam that provides an advisory opinion as to an admissions decision), the High School Guidance Counselor Service Center (online admission and student records are provided to high school counselors through a secure Web page), and the Registration "TRIED" Report (a valuable report indicating students who tried to but could not register for specific courses). Naturally, our recruiting and processing efforts extend well beyond these: They include, for example, interactive Web pages; e-mail broadcasts; chat sessions; Telecenter activities (a log-in capability providing a student secure access to his/her records); to name a few of the many operations.

One reason the Office of Admissions has implemented an array of 24x7 electronic, web-based tools is to provide students with self-service access to the information they need. This provides alternatives to problems of enrollment growth: For example, when electronic media can deliver services on a 24x7 basis, it is not necessary to bear the expense of additional admissions counselors and telephone lines.

Another reason to implement an array of 24x7 electronic, web-based tools is to keep in step with student populations that are increasingly web savvy.

As processes in this office are focused on 24x7 web-based tools, a point of interest becomes the way in which students view these electronic communications (See Table 2).

Student preferences indicate that live telephone communications are preferred over electronic communication, such as the Web and e-mail. Live telephone and even e-mail communications may be preferred over the Web because of a perception that such communications are personalized. …