Admissions on Record-Setting Pace

by Jim Amidon

December 8, 2008

The Wabash Admissions Office is on a record-setting pace for applications and campus visits, and with a big deadline approaching Dean Steve Klein encourages alumni to remain actively involved with the students they have referred.

To date, Wabash has received 933 applications and the Admissions Office on pace to reach 1,000 applications earlier than at any point in College history.

"This is a big week for us with the December 15 Early Action deadline fast approaching," said Klein, now in his 12th year leading Wabash’s Admissions Office. "If alumni are working with high school students interested in the College, now is the time to encourage them to complete their applications."

Applications have been running over 25 percent ahead of the office’s goal and ahead of last year’s pace.

"What this tells me is that the messages coming out of the book Colleges That Change Lives, the data from the National Survey of Student Engagement, and the ranking are having an impact over time," said Klein (pictured right). "Those things are increasing the public’s awareness of the opportunities students have at Wabash."

Wabash is included in Loren Pope’s best-selling book, Colleges That Change Lives, and the College participates in a national college fair that includes the schools singled out in the popular college guidebook. Wabash also appeared in’s inaugural rankings, "The Best American Colleges." The editors ranked Wabash 12th nationally based on alumni achievement and the experiences and awards won by students.

Klein credits his office’s recruiting success to a combination of experience and new energy. Two new recruiters joined his staff this year, Kim King ’99 and Kenya Smith "I’ve been very pleased with Kim and Kenya," said Klein. "Both had experience working with students in the high school to college transition, and they have brought good energy to our staff and good insight to their recruiting territories."

Klein also credits Mike Owens ’02 and Marc Welch ’99, both of whom have capitalized on the experience they gained last year.

"Many schools are reporting increased numbers of applications," Klein says, "and many attribute that to the economy. There is a belief that students are applying to more colleges and are applying earlier to maximize their opportunities."

And that’s where the alumni can be especially helpful, according to Klein.

"It’s always very competitive in private college admissions," he said. "I think it’s going to be harder to yield these students given the current economic conditions. Now more than ever, we need to demonstrate the value of a Wabash College education, and we’ll be calling on our alumni to help us make that case."

Campus visits have also been way up versus previous years. This year, 726 students have visited Wabash, an 21 percent increase over last year. The number of one-on-one campus visits is up 34 percent vs. last year.

The Top 10 Scholarship Visit Day again attracted well over 100 men ranked in the top ten percent of their high school class. Students engaged young alumni panelists, took tours, visited with faculty and coaches, and even attended classes in fields of interest to them.

"I don’t want to overlook our new coaches, who really hit the ground running," said Klein. "In football, Erik Raeburn and Jake Gilbert have done a nice job transitioning to their new roles. And Clyde Morgan in track and Roger Busch in cross country have been very aggressive as recruiters."

Klein says that even newly retired track coach Rob Johnson has been on the recruiting trail. Johnson accompanied Klein on an east coast trip, hitting high schools in Philadelphia and New Jersey.

Alumni can be helpful in the process by encouraging prospective students to get their applications completed and to visit campus if they have not already done so. While the Early Action deadline is December 15, students have until February 1 to apply. "Given the economy, it looks like we’re going to need a larger number of applicants to fill our class, so we’ll be actively seeking qualified young men throughout the winter months."

The high number of applications, a vigorous campus visit program, and the energy brought to the Admissions Office by new recruiters has Klein excited for the stretch run in this year’s recruitment cycle.

"I’m very optimistic at this point," said Klein, "but I am also reminded that students can apply to an infinite number of schools.

"Even if they apply to a dozen schools, they can only choose to attend one. And that’s where Wabash’s alumni can be especially helpful."

To refer a prospective student, click here.

To become an Admissions Volunteer, click here.


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