Go back

Office of Admissions handles recruitingand so much more

April 1, 2003

The third in our series of departmental profiles features the Office of Admissions, which is located in the Ellington Building. Responding to questions is Scott McDonald, director, who joined the department in January.

What is the function of Admissions and how does Admissions fit in to the University's overall mission?
April 1, 2003

The third in our series of departmental profiles features the Office of Admissions, which is located in the Ellington Building. Responding to questions is Scott McDonald, director, who joined the department in January.

What is the function of Admissions and how does Admissions fit in to the University's overall mission?

Obviously, our first function is recruiting, and we do that in a number of ways. We take calls from students requesting information, do mailings to prospective students and attend college fairs and mall fairs. We serve as representatives of Austin Peay and as a connection for people who want to enroll.

We also process applications, handle transcripts, maintain records and coordinate scholarships and financial aid for students. Our office awards academic scholarships for freshmen, based on their ACTs, as well as for community college students.

Our No. 1 mission is recruiting students. Of course, recruiting is a campus-wide activity, and I've seen so many departments who want to help recruit students for their major. I also get a lot of referrals from alumni. We play a big part, but recruitment takes everybody.

How many people work in the office and what do they do?

We have 18 people: an associate director, an assistant director, four admissions counselors, six admissions processors and myself. Admissions processors do applicationsincluding those for graduate school and all of Fort Campbell. We rotate applications processors at Fort Campbell. They're there for two to three months.

We have four folks who coordinate the main reception area, greeting students and answering their questions. They also coordinate all our mailings, which are huge. We do mass mailings to sophomore, junior and senior high school students. We send out acceptance letters, letters requesting transcripts and mailings to community college students and non-traditional students who are in our database, both prospective students and "stop out" students who've taken some time out of school. We want to encourage them to come back.

We also collect applications that are submitted on the Web and answer questions that come to us via the Web. We have a graduate student who answers questions or disperses them to counselors.

And we do targeted mass e-mails reminding students about upcoming counselor visits, scholarship deadlines, that sort of thing.

If we were to drop by this office, what might we see?

You'd see hordes of students here for a campus visit and prospective students coming in asking all kinds of questions. You'd see Gov Greeters, students who give tours to prospective students and their parents twice a day and one Saturday a month.

You'd see counselors meeting with students and going over admission requirements, scholarship requirements, campus life, housing and other aspects of college life.

You'd see people putting in data from applications, and student workers packing materials for road trips. In the Clarksville-Montgomery County area, we visit local high schools six times a year. We also try to visit high schools in Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga and Knoxville at least twice a year, usually a college fair and a follow-up event in the spring. There are counselors I haven't seen more than a couple of times since I've been here, because they're always on the road.

In the fall I'll pick up some schools. I'm excited about that.

You'd see phones ringing, students checking on their status, checking on scholarships. And because we're listed first in the phone book, we get all sorts of questions, like, at the first sign of snow, people call and ask, "Is the University open today?"

What would people find most surprising if they could work here a while?

People think the life of a recruiter is "glamorous" because they get to travel. But when you're on the road, living out of a suitcase and a van, eating out all the time, there's a tendency to burn out. We have to keep a watch for that, make sure recruiters stay motivated, that they're taking care of themselves. They usually are on the road a week at a time. They go out on Monday, come back on Friday, restock, and go out again the following Monday.

I think people would also be surprised at the volume of mailings we do. Recruitment materials, targeted mailings, answers to request for information. Our budget for postage is high for a reason.

What's the most challenging thing about being part of this department?

Keeping up with the competition. It's fierce out there, especially in the area of scholarships.

What's the best thing?

Working with students, talking about Austin Peay's advantages, and showing them what a college education can do for them. Getting them to think not just about where their friends are going but which school will give them a quality experience.

Another thing that's really exciting is that Nashville State Tech has allowed us to set up an office there. We're one of the few universities to have a physical presence there on a weekly basis. The president invited us to be there. They even gave us a computer and a phone.