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The Source

Q&A with Lisa Meyer sheds light on spring 2012 culture of yield

March 06, 2012

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    CAS Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Lisa Meyer

Beginning this week and continuing through the end of May, more than 1,000 newly admitted students and their families will visit campus with the same general question in mind: “Why Lewis & Clark?”

As the volume of visitors who may choose to spend the next four years at Lewis & Clark is enormous, the CAS Office of Admissions refers to this time of year as the season of yield.

The Source checked in with CAS Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Lisa Meyer to learn more about how admissions has developed a culture of yield and how our community can help students decide if Lewis & Clark is the right fit.

What is the culture of yield?

Simply put, culture of yield refers to creating an overarching culture on our campus that encourages admitted students to choose to enroll at Lewis & Clark. I hope that this culture exists on our campus throughout the year, but during the spring, as we host thousands of admissions visitors, I would like to remind everyone on campus to be mindful of the way we present ourselves. Many prospective students will base their college decisions on a two- or three-hour visit to campus. If during this visit they see a warm and collaborative community of scholars, they are likely to choose Lewis & Clark as their home. If they feel frustrated or neglected, however, they are likely to choose another campus to call home.

How can faculty and staff help to create this culture on campus?

There are a few simple things everyone on campus can do:

  • If you see someone on campus who looks like a visitor, give them a warm welcome.
  • Wear your name tag at all times so visitors can easily identify whom to ask for assistance.
  • Offer to give directions or answer questions for anyone who might seem a bit lost or confused.
  • Check your website and make certain it is up to date.
  • Encourage visitors to explore the campus by visiting art shows, coffee shops, the College Bookstore, etc.
What are the main factors that help sway admitted students to stick with their choice to go to school here?

The visit to campus is the number one factor cited by students as to how they made their final college choice. Students are looking for a college with a strong curriculum, outstanding faculty, exciting ways to be involved on campus, and interesting students, but the final criteria is one of “fit.” They visit colleges in an attempt to understand if the college “feels” right to them; do they belong here? A good visit can make all the difference in whether an admitted student chooses to enroll.

Last year, there were certain themes that were stressed to admitted students. Is that true again this year?

We will once again be assigning themes to each week during the month of April:

  • Week One: Academic Life
  • Week Two: Well-Rounded Students
  • Week Three: Globalism
  • Week Four: Leadership and Outcomes

During each of these weeks, admitted students will receive information on the theme, and we will highlight the themes in our online chats, on our website, and in other communications.

When will the majority of visitors be on campus?

The greatest number of visitors come to campus in the weeks prior to and following Easter (this year, April 2 to 13). Many schools have spring break during these weeks, so students and families use this time to visit college campuses. Last year on each of the days during these two weeks, we averaged 80 student visitors per day, in addition to family members who joined them.

Is there anything else the Lewis & Clark community should be aware of during this season of yield?

One thing to remember is that in addition to the admitted students who are visiting campus, we are also hosting many juniors in high school who are just starting their college selection process. The same tips apply as to how to interact with these students and their families, but it is good to know that not everyone who visits has already applied and been admitted.

This is the first in a series of three stories featuring admissions staff from each school. Read additional Q&As with Becky Haas, director of admissions for the graduate school, and Shannon Davis, assistant dean of admissions for the law school.