In the last decade, Colorado State University has experienced extraordinary, double-digit gains in diversity, transfer students, and overall enrollment — historic growth in all three areas. In 2016, under the enrollment leadership of Vice President of Enrollment and Access Robin Brown and Director of Admissions Melissa Trifiletti, the university saw milestone numbers with the largest freshman class, number of transfers, and overall enrollment at 33,198 students.
Those dramatic increases didn’t happen by accident. Through a holistic, strategic approach, CSU’s Office of Admissions helps students to find their state.
“We’ve been so successful because of campus-wide efforts,” said Christine Campbell, senior associate director of marketing and communications for CSU’s Office of Admissions. “It’s the programs that are offered; it’s the scholarships that financial aid makes available; it’s the university’s infrastructure and new buildings. From President Tony Frank’s vision for the university to the commitment to student success of faculty and staff at all levels — that’s what is behind our success.”
Colorado’s school of choice
CSU continues to be Colorado’s school of choice, with the most recent state reports showing more freshman students from Colorado high schools attending CSU than any other university in the state.
“One of things we’re changing in the coming year is that we will be focusing even more on Colorado schools by doubling our visits,” said Kelly Nolin, senior associate director of Admissions Recruitment and Outreach.
“We want to become the resource for students and families in Colorado who are in the college search process,” said Campbell.
The Office of Admissions also offers a blog written from a student’s perspective that can be incredibly helpful to prospective and admitted students on a variety of topics from The CSU Experience to All About Admissions. Topics range from tips for move-in to how to conquer your admissions essay.
“There is communication with students at every point in the cycle,” Nolin said, “and communication to students is personalized. Once students receive communications from our office, they really do want to reach out to a person. Our counselors on our recruitment team are very good about building relationships and being responsive. Our entire staff really cares about the experience students and their families have.”
To say that CSU’s Office of Admissions is busy would be an understatement. During Fall 2016 recruitment, the staff made outreach visits both broad and far-reaching:
- High school visits (including international): 697
- Community college visits: 15
- College fairs (freshmen and transfer):
- 135 in Colorado
- 175 out-of-state
- States visited: 37
- Student contacts made: 11,564
Unique and individual experience at CSU
Along with the strategic approach to help students find out more about CSU, the Division of External Relations worked closely with the Office of Admissions to develop a campaign that would resonate with students. The campaign is centered on how each student can have a unique and individual experience at CSU – how each student can find their own state.
“The ‘Find Your State’ campaign shines a light on the college experience that makes Colorado State unlike any other University in the country,” said Elias Martinez, assistant vice president for Brand Strategy and Creative Director at CSU. “Find Your State highlights the values and attitudes that make CSU an ideal place for self-discovery and independence. We can then attract students who share in those values, making for a more engaged and vibrant campus community.”
I Found My State!
“My family bleeds green and gold since both my dad and sister attended CSU. It wasn’t until I saw for myself all of the opportunities students have to get ready for their careers, like internships and undergraduate research, that I knew I had found the right university for me.”
Senior, English education, leadership studies minor
“I just felt at home at CSU. I visited my junior year during the Black Issues Forum and that was when I really saw myself here. I also came for a tour when I was a senior and as a first generation student I was really excited to find out that there were so many programs that would support me.”
Andrew Vanden Broeke
Senior, human development and family studies
“I chose CSU based on the human development and family studies curriculum. And when my best friend told me about what a wonderful experience she was having at CSU, I knew it was the right university for me. I’m so glad I decided to come here because my experience has been absolutely amazing.”
New Rams share their story
Once students find their state, Evan Moore, assistant director of Communications and New Media in the Office of Admissions helps new Rams share their story.
“Arguably this is the biggest thing that has happened to most students at the age of 17 or 18,” said Moore. “We want to help amplify that moment with our easy-to-use social media campaign, ‘I Found My State.’ We came up with the hashtags #ColoStateBound and #ifoundmystate and we created a fold-out banner that students could use to share their excitement of being admitted to CSU.”
Visitor services is a key part of helping students to find their state through campus tours. Admissions Ambassadors create an authentic, engaging visit for prospective students and their families. Last year alone, visitor services hosted more than 30,000 individuals. The customer service standards of the ambassadors are high with the focus on three key areas: know your knowledge; know your guest; and, make their day!
Quite frequently, the feedback of prospective students and their families is one of the most rewarding parts of an Ambassador’s job.
“The people here are so amazing and very helpful. Overall it was just an incredible experience that I would love to do again,” wrote a high school senior from Colorado.
“I’ve been anticipating this visit to Colorado State for months and it was more than I ever expected. I felt more than welcome, and coming in with so many questions, I felt like throughout the day I got every one of them answered. I loved everything about my visit! You guys really made me feel at home away from home. Thank you for helping me find my state!” wrote a student from Alabama.
‘Higher education is a transformative power’
“We appreciate how the entire campus makes prospective students feel welcome,” said Nolin. “We consistently hear from students who have visited campus how friendly the environment is. We are data driven, but my recruitment team understands the importance of remembering that each one of those numbers represents a student and a family. Higher education is a transformative power that really has the opportunity to change people’s lives. Our counselors understand that we have an incredible mission and that the work we do can have a lasting impact.”
Senior, journalism and media communication, film studies minor
“When I went on a tour of CSU, I absolutely loved it. Everyone gave me such a positive feeling and there was so much positive energy. Our tour guide was so passionate about what she was studying and about her experience at CSU, and I remember thinking I want to feel that passionate about my college experience.”
Junior, journalism and media communication
“I fell in love with CSU’s campus. The campus is gorgeous and open and it was really easy to see myself here. There’s really nothing quite like the friendly environment at CSU.”
Junior, architectural interior design, sustainability minor
“My freshman year, I was at a 4-year university in another state and I just didn’t feel at home or connected. So, I returned to Colorado and when I checked out CSU I found a major I was really interested in. After the first day at CSU, I felt I was more a part of the community than I had been the entire year at the other university.”