The most recent report from the Office of Enrollment Management revealed an increase of 54 newly enrolled students (new first-year students and transfer students combined) following an enrollment decline in recent years that began in 2010. Following the successful enrollment of Fall 2018 students, the Office of Admission unveiled a new initiative through an AllStudents email, called “Hometown ‘Hawks.”
This year was also the first time since 2010 that the number of all students (returning and newly enrolled) has increased from the previous year. However, there was a 5% decrease in the retention of students. The Office of Admission is working to reach a 90% retention rate of students, outlined in their strategic plan.
Vice President for Enrollment Management David Hautanen has been at SMCM since July 2017, after visiting and observing “an amazing location, absolutely beautiful, stunning, on the water, great facilities, really smart students, accomplished faculty, and one that really presented an opportunity to grow an institution.”
Director of Admission Kendra Lawrence joined SMCM in August after working at various schools, both public and private. Lawrence enjoyed her experiences at smaller institutions because she felt she excelled more in those environments. Lawrence said she was drawn to SMCM because “[she] appreciated when [she] came here that people seemed to have a sense of pride and seemed to really care about the place.”
Despite the increase in enrolled students, Lawrence emphasized that, “at the end of that day, we need students to help us tell our story.” Hometown ‘Hawks was created to involve students with admissions, by getting SMCM students to spread the message about the College to prospective students and encourage them to apply.. “The recruitment [process] cannot rest with this one office, we have students from all over the state of Maryland, we can’t be everywhere all the time,” said Lawrence.
As outlined in the AllStudents email, SMCM students can get involved either formally or informally. Informally, SMCM students can always be representing the College to prospective students when they are home. This benefits both current and future students, as Lawrence stated, “you guys lived the experience every single day so if you can communicate that when you go home and talk to the next generation that’s coming in, that helps us and it helps you as well.”
Hautanen recommends that all students “go out to their home communities with the goal of encouraging at least one student to apply […] that would be doing your part as a member of this community to help build this community for the future value of yourself.”
The Office of Admission is offering formal training to students who signed up for the Hometown ‘Hawks program on Dec. 5 . Those students will return to their high schools or community colleges over winter break to represent SMCM and recruit students to apply.
Hautanen says the institution is growing, and that means “we have additional resources to make the student experience even better […], we’re looking to grow in-state, we’re looking to grow out-of-state, we’re looking at growing internationally, we’re looking at achieving our diversity goals,” as part of their comprehensive enrollment model. Already this fall semester, the Office of Admission has completed more than 600 recruitment visits.