Liberal Arts Enrollment Up 50 Percent at Tech
Applications, diversity rise across the Institute
Posted August 9, 2005 | Atlanta
An intensive recruitment effort over the past two and a half years pays off big for the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts at Georgia Tech, resulting in a 50 percent increase in its freshman class this fall. The College, which offers undergraduate degrees in disciplines ranging from communication, digital media, economics, history, international affairs, modern languages, public policy, and several joint degrees, focused on an intensive recruiting process the past two years involving significant participation from the College's enthusiastic Student Advisory Board.
"More students are discovering the advantages of a small liberal arts college at a large research university like Georgia Tech. They get the best of both worlds," says Elizabeth Miller, academic adviser and recruitment coordinator for Ivan Allen College at Georgia Tech.
"We are seeing the results of a good game plan. We've learned that investing in the Web is the way to go and that campus visits are a high predictor for enrollment," says Richard Barke, former associate dean of Ivan Allen College and associate professor of Public Policy.
Recruitment Numbers from 2004 to 2005
Ivan Allen College vs. Georgia Tech Overall
Increase in # of Applications 47% 6.7%
Increase in Deposits, expected to enroll 50% -4.6% *
Increase in In-State Deposits 44% -1.7%
Increase in Out-of-State Deposits 88% 5.3%
*reflects planned decrease in number of seats for freshman class
Ivan Allen College participates in all the recruitment efforts of the main Admissions office for Georgia Tech, but added a new Shadow Day program this past year with impressive results.
"We have given much thought to how to attract students to a new non-engineering program at a major engineering university. The Student Advisory Board for Ivan Allen College really helped us refine our recruiting ideas to help us boost our visibility and enrollment," says Barke.
Knowing that interested students tend to enroll after visiting campus, the recruitment team planned two Shadow Days in March of this year for all recently admitted students who either expressed interest in Ivan Allen College majors or were undecided. Of the prospective students who attended Shadow Day, 95 percent sent their enrollment deposits -- an impressive marketing result by any standard. For Shadow Day, the College invited 300 high school students and about 80 participated, including a number of out-of-state students who made the trip.
For Shadow Day, the prospective students registered online and selected their major interests, which the College matched to the classes they attended on Shadow Day. Ivan Allen College students hosted the prospective students and no parents were invited so they got a good feel for the real world of being a Tech student. Over lunch, students were joined by deans, faculty members and advisers for informal chats, and in the afternoon students could opt to learn more about other interests such as sports, music, drama, the Greek system, computers, etc. Due to Shadow Days' strong results and positive feedback from participants, the College plans to host Shadow Days again in both the fall and spring semesters.
"Everyone from the professors to the student volunteers were very open to working with the Student Advisory Board to make the day succeed, and I would definitely say that it did," says recent graduate and board member Sarah Edwards, History, Technology, and Society, May 2005.
Over the past three years, student volunteers from Ivan Allen College ran phone banks for two evenings in April to call recently admitted students in order to answer their questions and find out their interests. With increasing results each year, Miller found the phone banks to be an effective way to reach prospective students during a crucial decision-making stage.
Miller emphasized that recruiting students is a process with many steps along the way. The College improved the recruitment process significantly, developing an award-winning student recruitment Web site, monitoring Web site usage, and tracking contacts with all prospective students to better understand the most effective recruiting methods.
"The Web is now the number one way students pick a college, so we worked hard to create an interactive Web site, to build in key words for searches and track what pages are being looked at the most. We see the most traffic on our Web site from August to October when high school seniors return to school and start seriously planning which schools to apply to," says Miller.
Applications, Diversity Rise
Just as interest in the liberal arts has surged at Tech, so has interest in the Institute as a whole. This year, Tech received nearly seven percent more applications than it did for the fall semester in 2004. The rise is mostly due to the success of the aggressive recruiting programs Tech put into place several years ago.
Increasing the intellectual and ethnic diversity of the student body has been a top priority for recruiters at Georgia Tech. The rise in applications to Tech's non-engineering programs such as liberal arts, management (which saw a 6.5 percent increase in applications) and the sciences (where applications increased by 3.6 percent) is a strong indicator that these programs are paying off.
The 6.5 percent increase in the number of African-Americans in the freshman class and a 4.8 percent rise in Hispanic students is another gauge of these programs' success. Since 2001, Tech has seen a 44 percent increase in the number of African-American freshman and a 77 percent increase in the number of Hispanic students. These gains come despite the fact that Tech does not practice Affirmative Action in admitting students.
Although more students are sending their applications to Tech, the Institute has reduced the number of students enrolling this year by five percent in order to keep class sizes to a reasonable level. The dip in enrollment by female students is largely a by-product of the smaller class size. Since 2003, Tech has increased the enrollment of women in the freshman class by 20 percent.
Georgia Tech Quick Facts
Total applications 9,157 (6.7 percent increase from 2004)
Total expected to enroll 2,487 (planned 4.6 percent decrease from 2004)
Number of women to enroll 726 (7 percent decrease from 2004)
Number of African-American students to enroll 163 (6.5 percent increase from 2004)
Number of Hispanic students to enroll 110 (4.76 percent increase from 2004)
Average high school GPA 3.74
Average SAT score 1340
Number of perfect test scores 13 SAT's, 3 ACT's
Most popular first names:
female - Ashley (19), Lauren (19), Sarah (19)
male - Michael (81), Matthew (57), David (52)
Most popular last names:
female - Smith (8), Johnson (6), Patel (5)
male - Lee (14), Smith (14), Kim (12)
Most popular majors:
Undeclared College of Engineering-UEC (386)
Mechanical Engineering-ME (217)
Biomedical Engineering-BMED (194)
48 states, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico represented. No freshmen from Hawaii or Wyoming.
Top Foreign countries:
Korea, Republic of (South) (25)
Nigeria (2), Russia (2), Taiwan (2), Venezuela (2)
There are 10 sets of twins.
There are 103 freshmen who have multiple legacies with 501 with at least one legacy.
There are 1,000 high schools represented.
73 percent (1821) of the freshmen class submitted a web application.
There are 78 National Merit Finalists.