Are You Ignoring a Quarter of Your Applicant Pool?

Stephanie Dupaul, SMU's associate vice president for enrollment management, talks about the importance of paying attention to stealth applicants.

By Eric Hoover

Stealth applicants aren’t going away. Deal with it, folks.
But how? On Friday morning, I heard some ideas during an a session here at the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s annual conference.
Stealth applicants—students whose applications are their first contact with a college—have complicated the traditional recruitment process, making it harder for colleges to know who’s a serious applicant and who’s not. The consensus here: Admissions officers must stop fretting about this trend, and develop better communications plans for engaging the growing number of students who fly below the radar until they finally apply.
That means stepping up post-application outreach. “Once they apply, these kids who are stealth prospecting, they still need to be engaged and involved,” said Stephanie Dupaul, associate vice president for enrollment management at Southern Methodist University.
One way Southern Methodist has done this is by beefing up its Web content. The university now posts video footage from “Mustang Monday” campus-visit days on its Web site, for instance. That way, prospective students who haven’t visited can get a feel for the campus from afar....