August 17, 2011 – Summer vacation is over, and Fort Valley State University is coming alive. The campus is bustling with activity as freshmen adjust to campus life. VanesciaHolman is among 1,100 first-year students making the transition. The projected number of freshmen this fall represents a 35 percent increase over last year. She’ll join a swelling Wildcat student population of more than 4,000 returning, traditional, out-of-state, international and graduate students, a 15 percent boost over last year.
The mass communications student, a Columbus, Ga. native is the first in her immediate family to earn a high school diploma.
Holman chose Fort Valley State University based on a recommendation by her cousin, Sherry Brown, an FVSU alum and a major in the U.S. Army. Brown is the first person in Holman’s extended family to receive a college degree.
“My cousin said FVSU is awesome, and told me to ‘rock with the Blue and roll with the Gold,’” says the 19-year-old student who decided to “keep up the family tradition” by being the second to graduate from FVSU. “My experience at FVSU, so far, has been fantastic.”
This semester, Fort Valley State is expecting a record enrollment. “We’re going to have to see how many students can resolve their finances,” says Rivers. “But, right now our enrollment picture is looking beautiful. I believe we’ll have a historic enrollment.”
Several key factors contributed to the increased number of Wildcats this year, according to Willie Williams, interim vice president for student affairs and enrollment management. FVSU used a “personal touch” to sway students on the fence about committing to the university.
Admissions staffers called applicants and helped with completing applications, submitting financial aid paperwork and the enrollment confirmation process.
“Nothing’s more effective than personally reaching out to a student, saying ‘We want you at FVSU,’” says Williams. “Some may have decided not to come, but a phone call changed their mind.”
Besides phoning students, the recruitment office worked with Donavon Coley, director of admissions, to expand the recruitment area, by visiting more schools, specifically during the Spring Cultural Arts Tour. Wildcat alumni chapters also sponsored local events to woo young people.
“We asked each alumni chapter to designate a person to serve as a student recruitment liaison for the university,” says Williams.
Teens were also courted through programs designed to demystify the registration process.
Holman attended the FVSU Summer Orientation program (which is mandatory for all new students). There, she learned about the expectations of faculty and networked with other students.
“I met some of my professors during the summer program, which helped me in great detail learn about classes, and other stuff I didn’t learn from high school,” said Holman.
The university plans to retain students like Holman. A retention committee has formed. Their first order of business is to poll new and current students to evaluate academic departments and the quality of customer service campus wide.
Christina D. Milton, editorial assistant
Marketing and Communications
(478) 825-6319, firstname.lastname@example.org