Incoming class to be bigger than last

Admissions staff works to refine online process

Following the low enrollment numbers in the class of 2018, the Allegheny Admissions Office is working to ensure that the class of 2019 does not face the same problems. According to the admissions office, 165 students have committed to Allegheny as of March 31. This is up from 118 at the same time last year.

Numerous factors led to the under enrollment of the class of 2018. One of the factors that came into play was the admissions offices attempt to go entirely paperless by employing a new computer program called Customer Relation Management. Implementing this new system slowed the process slightly and was partly to blame for under enrollment, however, the admissions team is working to make the system more efficient.

“It was something that we could fix and were able to get that system to a better place this year,” said Cornell LeSane, dean of admissions.

The members of the admissions team explained that there is a learning curve when changes like the CRM are introduced.

“We made the switch and it is a learning process, obviously, as everything might be and so, I know Cornell said, and we’ve continued to say, it is going to take us a couple of years just to navigate this system,” said Anne Leonard, an admissions counselor and Gator Guide coordinator. “It can do so much for us, so it has opened a lot of doors as far as communication goes and outreach and things like that.”

Leonard explained that the admissions staff spent a lot of time over the summer working on the CRM to ensure that things would run more smoothly this year.

In addition to seeing more deposits at this point than last year, LeSane also said that they have received 82 early decision deposits, the highest since 2002, and up from 48 last year.

“It is a huge point of pride for admissions and it should be a point of pride for Allegheny,” said LeSane.

LeSane explained that the majority of acceptance letters have been sent out at this point, and admissions is currently working to convince students why they should chose Allegheny.

“At this point in the process it’s talking up the things that we are proud of, which is really not that hard,” said LeSane.

According to LeSane, the admissions team employs several strategies to reach out to accepted students. These include academic department mailings to students who have expressed interest in that department, letters from alumni as well as current students and a handwritten note from the accepted students admissions counselor.

While Allegheny is on track to fill the class of 2019, Gator Guide Alyssa Schneider, ’16, explained that the school faces several challenges, including competition from other larger universities.

“It is still harder being a small private liberal arts school to get enough draw, just because Allegheny is up and coming, but still, especially like in the west and in areas…outside of Pennsylvania is still somewhat unknown,” said Schneider.

Despite the challenges that Allegheny faces in selecting its students, Schneider said that so far, she feels the class of 2019 is coming along well.

“So far we are doing pretty well getting acceptances back,” said Schneider. “The previous class was a little bit under enrolled, so right now, just trying to get enrollment back up, but we have been doing pretty well getting deposit checks back.”

Schneider explained that the last of the acceptance letters should be mailed out to students by the end of  April. She said that at this point in the year they are giving a lot of tours, but that they are filled mostly with high school juniors who would be part of the class of 2020.

“Most of the seniors have already taken their tours and are getting ready to make their final decisions, since national decision day is May 1, so getting ready for that,” said Schneider.

Schneider also said that the office is working to process all the incoming paperwork from students who are accepting or declining their place in the class of 2019. She said that often times it comes down to the cost of schools, despite the substantial merit aid she says Allegheny gives out.

LeSane said that as dean of admissions he is excited to see the incoming class begin to fill up. He feels that the class of 2019 will contribute to the Allegheny community in new and exciting ways.

“There’s just a lot of energy coming from this group,” said LeSane. “They are just really excited to be at Allegheny.”