Topic: What changes has WSU made over the past five years in its approach to undergraduate recruitment and admissions?
Challenge/opportunity: WSU strives to meet complex enrollment goals (first-year, transfer, non-resident, all campuses) while ensuring that entering students will be academically prepared and that the institution will maintain its commitment to diversity and access. The environmental /demographic context for addressing these goals has presented challenges due to a flat number of high school graduates, significant declines in community college enrollments, and greater competition from higher education institutions across Washington state and on the West coast. In response, WSU has developed a refined recruiting strategy that makes more sophisticated use of data, has updated and improved communication with potential and incoming students, has streamlined its admissions processing, and has collaborated with College deans and faculty to coordinate scholarships and provide innovative academic opportunities for incoming students. WSU has also expanded the geographical reach of its recruiting efforts to expand the number of freshmen and transfer students from within Washington, out of state (with particular focus on California), and from outside the U.S. (through its recent partnership with INTO).
- WSU has come within 98 percent of all numerical goals, or exceeded them.
- WSU has maintained the percent of its incoming class who are students of color (35 percent).
- WSU has maintained the percent of its incoming class who are first-generation (36 percent).
- Incoming first-year classes have been increasingly well prepared (average high school GPA is up to approximately 3.4 this year from 3.0 four years ago).
- WSU has improved its first-year retention rate by 2 percent in one year, and 3 percent in two years.
Current/future emphasis or next steps:
- Continue to engage colleges in scholarship awarding process to provide a more streamlined and comprehensive awarding process for new students.
- Continue to streamline transfer admission and certification process.
- Provide dedicated staff and programming for top-achieving students.
- Continue and develop additional partnerships with all WSU campuses, colleges, and multicultural student services.
For More Information at WSU:
NWCCU standards reference: 2.A.16 Admissions and placement, 2.C.4 Admission and graduation requirements