Admissions, Retention and Financial Aid Committee (ARFAC)
Minutes of the November 18, 2004, Meeting
Present: Paul Jackson, Chair (Natural Sciences and Math); Beth Christensen (IGS); Rachel Erickson (Student); Robin Karkowski-Schelar (Student); Steve Reece (Humanities).
Special guests: Christian Hakala (Admissions); Laura MacManus-Spencer (U of Minnesota – Preparing Future Faculty)
The meeting was called to order at 11:30 a.m. in Buntrock Commons 222. Jackson noted that the minutes of the October meeting will be circulated for approval in the near future. He also noted that Michael Kyle will officially assume the duties of Vice-President for Enrollment on November 22; we hope to meet with Kyle at our next meeting.
Christian Hakala provided an update on admissions activities for the year:
- The college hosted approximately 800 people during the Fall Open House, October 21-22. This included 314 high school seniors and 97 juniors.
- TRIO Day (November 5) was attended by 72 students. The admissions staff is noticing the benefits of their “College Club” at Minneapolis North and Washburn high schools during this event.
- Hmong New Year (November 13) was coordinated with the Carleton Hmong Student Awareness group and brought in approximately 50 high school students.
- Upcoming open houses include two Junior Days (February 21 and 26), Scholar’s Day (March 13), and the Spring Open house (April 16).
- The admissions department has visited 550 high schools and attended 123 college fairs this fall.
- The college has received slightly more than 1000 applications at this time (compared with 1161 at this point last year). Hakala attributes the difference to the use of a common online application form. Students cannot submit the form (which can be used at 255 institutions) until they have completed it in its entirety, including the essay. While St. Olaf has always accepted the common application form, this is the first year that it is the only form of online application being allowed – in previous years students could submit a form specific to St. Olaf that could initially be submitted without the essay.
- The deadline for early decision was November 15. The college received 93 applications compared with 130 last year. Early decision applicants had an average ACT score of 26, SAT score of 1230, 3.73 GPA, and 44% were in the top 10% of their high school classes.
- Early action students will be notified on February 1. This is by far the largest group of students to be accepted in the process.
We concluded the meeting with a bit of brainstorming about important issues in admissions, retention and financial aid for the next three years. The following topics were identified:
- Can we examine the process of admission and retention more holistically? How can ARFAC better embrace all campus issues that have an impact upon attracting and retaining good students? How can we use the success of our retention to strengthen our admissions process?
- What impact might the growth of the Great Conversation have on admissions and retention?
- How will need-sensitive vs. need-blind admissions evolve? What impact will it have on admissions, retention, and financial aid?
- How can the admissions staff better utilize the ongoing programs of outreach that bring publicity to the campus? (Events such as tours of musical organizations, etc. were noted.)
We were all encouraged to think about additional issues/questions that may help to inform the direction ARFAC and the College’s goals in admissions, retention, and financial aid will take during the next three years. Students were especially encouraged! The committee hopes to share these ideas with Michael Kyle at its next meeting. If Kyle is available, ARFAC will meet on December 16, 2004 at 11:30 a.m. Paul Jackson will confirm the meeting date and time via e-mail.
The meeting concluded at 12:30 p.m.
Beth Christensen, secretary pro tem