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APSU to host online ‘chats' with prospects, parents

Austin Peay State University is meeting and talking with prospective students in one of their favorite gathering placesonline.

As current data on teen trends indicate, most spend a significant amount of time each day on their computers. Although teens do use the Web for research, studies indicate most use it primarily for socializing through chats.

APSU is tapping into teens growing affinity for developing friends online, often by interest group.
Austin Peay State University is meeting and talking with prospective students in one of their favorite gathering placesonline.

As current data on teen trends indicate, most spend a significant amount of time each day on their computers. Although teens do use the Web for research, studies indicate most use it primarily for socializing through chats.

APSU is tapping into teens' growing affinity for developing friends online, often by interest group.

This fall, APSU began hosting public chats, which are open to all interested users, and private chats, which are open to specific groups of students, such as those who attend AP Day or those who have applied for admission or inquired about scholarships. In November, several APSU departments and programs will be hosting online chats with prospective students who have indicated an interest in a specific field of study.

“We purchased this service from Hobson's,” says Terry Damron, APSU assistant director for marketing. “It enables us to connect in real time with students or their parents.”

The service costs the University $2,400 per year, which Damron says is “quality interaction at a reasonable price.”

Chat is arguably the most effective and efficient way to interact directly with the target audience.

“This technology allows us to host online admission chatsinteracting with students in the
way they prefer. It's live conversation in real time, so it's extremely meaningful communica-
tion with prospective students in a group format,” says Damron, who worked closely with Sally Allen, admissions manager, on this initiative.

According to Hobson's Web site, schools report that students are far more likely to apply after chatting, and students surveyed indicate they're more likely to apply and attend as a direct result of chatting. Also, the group format allows students to learn from each other's questions.

Along with Admissions Office staff and faculty interested in chatting with prospective students, APSU President Sherry Hoppe is slated to join the chat during January 2007.

For a schedule of upcoming chats, please visit www.apsu.edu/admissions and click on the yellow Online Open House button. — Dennie B. Burke