Faculty phone recruiting returns

WSU is redoubling its efforts to attract high-achieving students by bringing back the faculty phone-a-thon, which will continue through March 11.

“We had done a faculty phone-a-thon for many, many years,” said Wendy Peterson, WSU director of admissions. But it had been on hiatus for the past two years while the university and faculty directed efforts toward recruiting students via the new Regents Scholars program.

“Some faculty prefer Regents Scholars recruiting, which they can do on their own time,” said Kim Mueller, telecounseling coordinator/admissions counselor for WSU. “But other faculty missed the phone-a-thon. They liked the big-group effort and having others there to support them.”

So this year, in addition to Regents Scholars recruiting, during the phone-a-thon faculty also are inviting other prospective high-achieving students to attend WSU.

“We appreciate our faculty volunteering their time for this effort,” Peterson said. “This is a great way for prospective students to hear about the academic programs first-hand from a faculty member they may later meet in the classroom. It makes such a difference for students.”

Participating faculty meet in the admissions office from about 5:30-8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday to make their calls. They are equipped with information on their colleges and departments, admissions and scholarships. They are given a list of students whose interests parallel their own areas of expertise.

Each night faculty from a particular college gather. Some colleges are scheduled for more nights because there are more prospective students who’ve indicated interest in their areas. “For example, many of the high-achieving students who have applied have expressed interest in math and sciences,” Mueller said.

Approximately 1,700 students are targeted for calls this year. They have high school grade point averages of at least 3.6 and SAT scores of at least 1200, Mueller said. They have all been accepted by WSU, but they have yet to confirm their enrollment.

WSU has heard from current students who received a phone-a-thon recruitment call before coming to the university, and those students were impressed. “Getting a call from a professor carries a huge ‘Wow’ factor,” Mueller said. “From our informal survey, the majority say that call was the most influential and memorable from their recruitment cycle.”

And the addition of high-achieving students has been influential on faculty. For example, “I have noticed an improvement with an increasing number of high-ability students in our German courses,” said Rachel Halverson, associate professor of foreign languages. “Most notable is the excellent foreign language preparation they bring from high school.”

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