ARFAC Meeting 21 April 2005
Present: Jackson, Reese, Kyle, Hellen (student)
The committee welcomes next year's student senate representative, Kathryn Hellen. Katie will be serving on ARFAC with Rachel Erickson for the remainder of this year in preparation for the next academic year.
- Update on incoming class*. The committee received a summary report on the incoming class and asked questions related to some of the data presented. 441 deposits compared to 418 last year. Generally on target for meeting strategic plan goals. See an increase in # of acceptances as well as # of withdrawals 48% Lutheran, 32% legacy, 54:46 Female:Male, 16% First generation 60% from MN...running a little high
What can be done to influence class make-up now?
a) link Financial Aid appeals to strategic plan goals
b) look to waitlist
- Discussion of changes to Spring Open House* (16 April)
*Hosted 295 students and over 700 people
*Highlighted the academic program by having each associate dean
organize a faculty conversation/panel about the different academic
areas of the college. Based on observation and feedback it
appeared that if the associate dean took ownership, the session
really paid off for those attending. Attendance and interests
suggested a need to have representatives from Political Science
and Nursing programs next year.
*Schedule changes to begin activities on the hour" was met with a
positive response from participants.
*Started day with a warm, welcoming breakfast and capped it with an
ice cream social. Many positive comments and people expressed a
feeling for the place.
*The timing of next year's spring open house will need to change
due to Easter. The program will move a week earlier to April 8, 2006.
*Future ARFAC input desired: How can we more effectively "flush
out" the academic part of the spring and fall open houses? Does
it work to have each Faculty conduct a session? How can we
increase faculty and alumni participation?
- Proposed admissions process changes for next year* The admissions office solicited ARFAC's feedback on two proposed changes to next year's admissions process.
A. Move to exclusive use of the Common Application (paper and on-line versions)
The committee discussed positive and negative implications of move to use only the Common Application. Topics ranged from lost revenue from application fees to streamlining data entry to "the take-home message" of the entire application package. Using the common application provides clearer instructions to prospective students, distinguishes ourselves from our closest competitors and the historic data shows no statistical difference in credentials between students who have complete the common app compared to those completing the St. Olaf application. With the suggestion that the admissions office provide some specific instructions about what we are looking for in the "Why St. Olaf College?" essay, ARFAC endorsed the move to use the Common Application.
B. Change in Application Deadlines.
The committee discussed the pros and cons to moving the application deadline for Early Decision to November 1 and Early Action to December 1st. This move would allow the admissions office to spend more time with the part of the overall applicant pool (EA) that provides a majority of the incoming class. The additional time would permit some targeting of populations within the applicant pool as well as an ability to perform some group sorting. Some groups within this applicant pool could be notified of their application status well before the February 1st date. Finally, the change brings all application deadline dates to fall on the 1st of the month - a consistency that will help applicants understanding the various application options at St. Olaf. ARFAC endorsed the change of application dates.
- Admissions/Financial Aid Calendar* The committee began preliminary conversation about ways to more effectively communicate with prospective students during the admissions process. Of particular interest is the time between January 1st through the time the student receives notification of his/her status. Some clarification of calendar dates was discussed. It was noted that financial aid packages are now distributed between Feb 15 through April 15. Questions were raised regarding the integration of the Conversation Programs into the communication with accepted students. The committee felt these topics were a good vehicle for communication, but the emphasis should not be placed on getting into a Conversation Program or give the impression that if you don't apply to one you are missing out. Other comments were made regarding the distribution of the binder project. Should it go out earlier than June? How is the admission notification packet changing? One vision is to send a packet to admitted students that serves as a resource to talk about St. Olaf ...perhaps titled "@stolaf.edu"
- Next meeting - Thursday, May 12 at 11:30 am in Buntrock 222 *As we look to the upcoming academic year and the compositional change of the committee, we wish to provide some guidance to those continuing and joining this endeavor. The summer and early fall will be an important time for the Admissions and Financial Aid Division as they move forward and react to the assessment report from Hardwick-Day. This committee will be evaluating the role it does or should play in the future of Admissions and Financial Aid at St. Olaf? How to we more effectively engage faculty in the admissions and retention processes? How do we accomplish the goals of the strategic plan together? The committee will propose agenda items of importance for the coming year.
Submitted by Paul Jackson