ASU increases recruitment of California students

A rapid increase in enrollment of California students has ASU pushing recruitment efforts in “The Golden State.”

Undergraduate Admissions kicked off the inaugural weeklong ASU in SoCal recruitment program on Oct. 30, hoping to spark an interest in California students looking to continue into higher education.

Executive Director of Undergraduate Admissions David Burge said there has been an enrollment increase of 83 percent since 2006 of California students.

California provides ASU with the most out-of-state students, totaling 3,797 students as of fall 2010, according to the Office of Institutional Analysis.

Burge said ASU in SoCal featured four recruitment programs leading up to the ASU vs. UCLA football game on Nov. 5, ending with Sun Devil SunDay on Nov. 6.

“We get a lot of students from Southern California, so we wanted to provide a different way to learn about ASU and what it has to offer,” he said. “We decided to try something new in an area that has historically been a strong feeder for us.”

Burge said, ASU’s “aggressive non-resident recruitment strategy” includes four regional representatives permanently located in California, along with an Arizona-located national recruitment team focusing on all 50 states.

Arizona’s advancements in higher education in the past decade created a strong draw of interest from California students, he said.

“As we have grown stronger, California (four-year universities) have struggled with budgets and limitations on how many students they will accept,” Burge said.

Undergraduate Admissions is also working on expanding the number of international students at ASU, Burge said.

A recruitment team in China is on a two-week visit to inform Chinese students of the opportunities ASU has to offer. Burge also recently traveled on a recruiting assignment to India.

“We are always looking to increase the diversity of the incoming freshmen and transfer classes,” he said.

Illinois is the next top provider of out-of-state students with 818, followed by Texas with 569, according to the fall 2010 data provided by the office of Institutional Analysis.

Burge said ASU hopes to reach out to admitted out-of-state students through the new Devil-to-Devil program, a Facebook-like experience that allows students to communicate with students and faculty when they are admitted to ASU.

“That has been the challenge in recruiting non-resident students,” he said. “Many of them want to make connections and it is harder for them to visit.”

Vice Provost for the Office of Transfer Partnerships Maria Hesse works on the programs to facilitate out-of-state student transfers.

“The California system of higher education is not accommodating all the students who qualify for their programs,” she said. “We would like to have those well-qualified students come to ASU.”

She said ASU currently has a community college partnership with California and Texas that allows students in those states to easily transfer the credits they have earned.

Arizona’s partnership with California community colleges first began two years ago with providing general education packages for students wishing to transfer from a two-year to a four-year University, Hesse said.

In addition, recommended lower-division major preparation classes were introduced last spring to allow students at community colleges to start out on a pathway to complete course requirements that can be directly applied to majors.

“For California students that do want to transfer, it’s huge to have that all laid out for them and it makes the transfer process a lot easier,” she said.

Psychology sophomore Lauren Fractor came to ASU last year from Newbury Park, Calif.

“I decided I liked Arizona because of the warm weather and I wanted to try something new and get out of the area since California schools are so hard to get into,” she said.

Before applying to ASU, Fractor attended an information session in her area.

“That made me want to come out and visit, and once I visited, I really liked it,” she said.

Hesse said the contributing factors to an increase in out-of-state enrollment are from ASU’s improvement in their research facilities and changes to higher education.

“I think ASU is more visible on the national scene,” she said. “With such a broad range of options, it is a pretty easy sell.”

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