When it comes to attracting students to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, some colleges do better than others. Colleges such as the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources find it easier being in an agriculturally rich state such as Nebraska. But other colleges, such as the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts, have had to rebrand their recruiting efforts to attract the students who usually take to the West and East coasts’ education in theater and music.
CASNR takes advantage of being able to offer instruction in a largely agriculturally minded state.
In the fall of 2013, CASNR saw a 5.8 percent increase in enrollment, which is an all-time high for the college, according to Sue Ellen Pegg, recruitment coordinator for CASNR. The college has also grown significantly, with 73 percent more students than in 2004.
CASNR reaches out to prospective students at various events around Nebraska.
“We take advantage of opportunities to host high school and middle school students on East Campus,” Pegg said.
The college hosts the Nebraska Science Olympiad competition, the Farming Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute, the World Food Prize Foundation’s State World Food Prize Youth Institute, events for the Nebraska State Future Farmers of America Convention, the 4-H Premier Animal Science and Life Challenge events and 4-H camps.
The college also has a program called “Ensuring Your Future” that guarantees the students participating in the program a job in their areas of interest within six months of graduating or the college will pay to retrain them. The program has been in effect for 14 years, and Pegg said CASNR has never had to pay to retrain anyone.
Other colleges at UNL benefit from marketing to out-of-state students, such as the College of Journalism and Mass Communications.
About 25 percent of undergraduates in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications are from out-of-state. Recruitment and admissions coordinator Michelle Hassler said representatives from the college attend events across the United States to talk with potential students. They attend events held by the Nebraska High School Press Association, the Minnesota High School Press Association and the Colorado High School Press Association. Hassler said a group recently traveled to the Student Television Network Convention in Orlando, Fla., to connect with potential broadcasting students.
“That’s an important part of our college,” Hassler said. “It allows us to get the word out to students who might not have heard about us.”
On top of that, Hassler said CoJMC works directly with the UNL Office of Admissions to identify “pocket areas” where the college attracts the most students, such as Minneapolis, Chicago, Denver and Kansas City, Kan.
“We let admissions identify areas they think are good, and then we try to target those areas,” Hassler said. “We’d love to expand into more Big Ten areas, but there’s only so much money.”
As the only public law school in Nebraska, the College of Law focuses on providing Nebraska residents an affordable legal education, said assistant dean of admissions Tracy Warren. The college spends a large portion of its recruitment efforts working with potential students who are from or who are currently going to school in Nebraska.
“We are continuously working to increase our presence on the campuses of Nebraska colleges and universities to further foster and develop our relationships with prospective students and advisers here in Nebraska,” Warren said in an email.
The college hosts several events on UNL’s campus, which include presentations by faculty, graduate and career fairs and counseling at the Explore Center.
Warren said the college also sends representatives throughout the Midwest to speak with prospective students and advisers at fairs or in smaller groups.
Other colleges at UNL, such as the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts, have had to change their recruiting systems to attract more students to Nebraska.
Assistant director of recruitment Jemalyn Griffin said the college now has one representative for each of the areas in the college: art, film and new media, music, theater, dance and art.
Griffin said the college has a strong relationship with local high school students and teachers.
As far as out-of-state recruitment goes, Griffin said the college is trying to reach out to students who haven’t heard of or considered coming to the Midwest for the arts. The representatives are encouraged to use their Twitter accounts to interact with prospective students.
“Coming from California, I understand the cultural differences of coming to a place like Nebraska,” she said. “I meet with students and help them see that Nebraska is a great place for the arts. I work to help break down that barrier.”