Why students accepted to Rowan get personal visits from university president
It's the president of the university you applied to — and you've been accepted!
The old-fashioned way of delivering an acceptance letter is getting a reboot from some colleges and universities, including Rowan here in New Jersey.
Surprise presidential drop-ins and in-person visits from admissions officials or alumni have become a tactic used by an increasing number schools, according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling.
David Hawkins, NACAC's executive director for educational content and policy, said institutions have been struggling more than usual to attract many of the students they accept. This innovative method may give one school the upper hand on another.
"This highly-personalized outreach is very much a part of colleges' efforts to get those students to enroll," Hawkins said.
Before the 2015 academic year, Rowan University President Ali Houshmand visited the homes of five high school seniors to personally deliver their acceptance letters.
Two of the five students ultimately chose Rowan as their school for higher learning, and Rowan plans to make more visits next year. Surprise visits planned for 2016 were cancelled due to snow.
"All five students were extremely excited about it and the families were great," said Rider University spokesman Jose Cardona. "To open the door and the president's there - they're just flabbergasted."
President Houshmand was joined by the school's mascot and admissions officials.
"I was on site and it was very moving," Cardona said. "The reason that we did it is just to connect to students. It just gave a warm feeling about who we are as a university."
Other colleges and universities in New Jersey have also stepped up their game in this regard. They don't go as far as surprise visits, but they still try to stand out in case a student is accepted by more than one school.
For the last three years, Stockton University has conducted a direct mail campaign that provides accepted undergraduates with a series of items — from saltwater taffy to a power bank for electronic devices — "to give them a taste of what living at Stockton will be like."