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The Challenge: Reach more potential students with decreasing resources

On campus recruiting activities for prospective College of Engineering undergraduate students consumed a lot of time and other resources. It was not clear what impact these events had on prospective students' decisions to attend Penn State – had they already made their minds up when they attended the events? Additionally, most of the attendees were from Pennsylvania and the surrounding states. How could the College reach prospective students elsewhere in the United States and other countries?

The Solution: Transition from face to face to more online sharing of information

Future Students websiteThe team examined scheduled events such as the Engineering Open House, Spend a Summer Day, and Accepted Student Programs, individual events such as prospective student visits, and publications distributed to or mailed to prospective or admitted students. They also looked at how the Web site could be used to share information about the College worldwide. The team collected data from colleges, departments, student organizations, and the Office of Admissions, and additionally conducted a focus group and survey of students to get a complete understanding of undergraduate recruiting in the College.

In 2010 a number of improvements were implemented. The Open House evolved into an opportunity on the Web for a virtual visit, student visit days were reduced, presentations were standardized, activities were enhanced to include student panels and accommodate larger groups, and publications were consolidated. The Web site was redesigned to improve the organization and quality of information presented to help future students to make an informed decision about attending the University. The College now regularly calls upon the student Engineering Ambassadors to support recruiting efforts, including creation of online videos and blogs, outreach activities, presenting during large recruiting events, and assisting with prospective student visits.

As a result of the improvements, publication costs were cut by 50%. Costs were greatly reduced in terms of people-time spent for events: 60% decrease for prospective visits, 80% decrease changing from Open House to Virtual Visits, 69% decrease for Accepted Student Programs. At the same time, from 2009 to 2010, applications were up 8.8%, offers were up 5.3%, and enrollment was up 3.1%.

For more information about the College of Engineering Undergraduate Recruiting Project, visit or contact Kim Baran, Coordinator, Global Engineering Education,

Engineering Ambassadors







January 2011

Jeff Hill
Jeff Hill, Academic Adviser, College of Engineering
"I believe we learned the value..." more
Engineering Ambassador
Spend a Summer Day presentation
"We also appreciated the opportunity to talk with a number of students..." more

   Renata Engel
Team Leader:
   Kim Baran
   Natalie Bryner
   Kimberly Fox
   Paul Heinemann
   Jeff Hill
   Cheryl Knobloch
   Juls Kralik
   Anita Persaud
   Timothy Vitullo
   Jamie Whitehead
Team Facilitator:
   Barbara Sherlock

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