Canisius looks forward to new freshman class

By Justin Smith
Assistant News Editor

It’s safe to say Canisius is going through changes. Whether it be the academic faculty, the administration, or even the library, one needs not look far to see the evidence of Canisius dynamic nature. It is also clear, as evidenced by Canisius’s changing ad campaign, that the college is altering the way it attempts to attract prospective students. This Saturday marks the first of Canisius’s two open houses this semester, where prospective students will get a top-to-bottom preview of the campus and begin on the process of deciding if our institution is the place they will receive their higher education.

“We are offering up what prospective students are most often interested in when they’re doing a college search in an Open House event,” said Justin Rogers, the college’s new Director of Undergraduate Admissions.

This means a tour, a student services fair, academic sessions, overviews on admissions and financial aid, and an informational session entitled “Planning for Four Years and Beyond.”

The new ad campaign’s influence on the Open House will be minimal. Rogers’s office, and thus his area of knowledge, does not extend to Canisius’s new marketing campaign. With both “Go Exploring” and “Discover” phased out, and a successful crop of new students embarking on their first semester, the Office of Institutional Advancement has had time to breath before releasing a new advertisement campaign.

While this is expected to come into public viewing within the next two weeks, it is unlikely that the incremental, behind-the-scenes creation has had any real impact on the formation of this year’s first Open House.

When asked about how, if at all, the marketing campaign has affected emails, texts and mailings sent to prospective students, Rogers said, “There’s certainly elements of what the college is changing…that I think are getting put into this.”  However when asked to specify what these changes were, Rogers said, “Some of the word choice has changed and the messaging that they’re trying to deliver is different than the format it was in before.”

Rogers said it was too difficult to say whether these changes were effective because the new campaign in in its “infancy.”

However, for anyone looking for signs of efficacy, Rogers did point out that the 140 students already signed-up for the Open House is up 10 from last year, and he also said that the college expects more registrations today as well as several walk-ins on Saturday.

Rogers also said that the college has been “more targeted” in its outreach than in past years.  Again, when asked to specify on this point, Rogers said Canisius is reaching outside the Western New York area to places such as, Boston, Chicago and Cleveland.  Rogers also credited Kathleen Davis, VP of Enrollment Management, for being proactive in addressing advertising.

Rogers said he didn’t know about the school’s plans to downsize the student population, but that these plans were not impacting attempts to draw in students from an outreach standpoint.

“[We’re] always trying to attract new students in any way we can and [we’re] certainly not limiting that effort by a certain cap we want to hit.”

This is Rogers first time experiencing a Canisius College Open House, so he is prepared to make tweaks if necessary for the next Open House on November 15th.

With a smaller student population, it is important to track changes in how that smaller pool of incoming freshmen are being both attracted and selected, and efforts like the Open House are certainly a part of that.



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