First-time freshman and transfer applicants for next fall semester are up by 24 percent and 41 percent respectively from this time last year.
First-time freshman orientation registration is also up 7.2 percent and transfer orientation registration is up 22.5 percent, said Director of Admissions Gerri Daniels.
“It’s kind of a cycle that we go through. In the fall, high school seniors, for the most part, are applying for their colleges of choice,” Daniels said. “They go through that decision-making process and then you get to a point in the spring where students are making their decisions. Different colleges have different ways for students to show that they’ve made the decision to attend their school and, at Northern, it’s orientation registration.”
Nationally, May 1 is the general candidate reply date, Daniels added. Though this is the deadline for many colleges, NMU accepts applications past this date.
This past fall semester showed an over 11 percent increase in first-time freshman from the year prior. Active admits, or those who are admitted and have not yet cancelled their admission, is also up 15 percent for first-time freshmen and 26 percent for transfer students.
“The university had a number of initiatives that we started around three years ago that I think are really paying dividends now,” Daniels said.
Initiatives have included increased marketing across a variety of platforms, new facilities and new academic programs, Daniels said. The largest increase in phone calls to admissions happened when word started to spread about NMU’s medicinal plant chemistry program.
“Oh my gosh, every other call was about that program. Now that’s leveled out, and also now the calls that we get are 99 percent serious calls where initially it was about 50/50 for a while,” Daniels said.
NMU Marketing Manager Kelsey Potes said the marketing department has evolved over the years, adding that increasing enrollment comes from a multitude of factors and collaborative efforts from departments across campus.
“We’ve really made an effort over the past three-and-a-half years to take what we were outsourcing to private firms that a lot of different schools across the country use,” Potes said. “We’re bringing that in house and that’s really allowed us to stand out among competitors so our materials don’t look exactly like what a prospective student might be getting from every other school that they’re interested in.”
A new team was hired from across the country over the past years including the marketing manager roll, an art director, a full-team of designers that include student workers, a full time social media person and other professionals in the field of photography and videography, Potes said.
“Our location plays a big roll when we put together what it is that we’re selling, when we put together our marketing pieces, because we know that’s something that distinguishes us from other schools,” Potes said. “So that might be the cover photo on something that we put together, but we always bulk it up with our incredible academic experiences. Those one-on-one faculty and staff interactions that our students get, that we hear time and time again, also set us apart from other schools. We try to make all of those things that make Northern Northern a part of our pieces.”