Heading out on a student recruitment tour to three central North Carolina cities right after hurricane remnants pass through those areas might seem like an iffy proposition, but the Western Carolina University contingent that participated in WCU on Tour last week welcomed standing-room-only crowds at the three venues where programs were presented.
About 25 faculty and staff members participated in the evening recruitment events that took the group to Greensboro on Sept. 17, Raleigh on Sept. 18 and Charlotte on Sept. 19. A total of 754 guests attended the three events, including 336 prospective students – the best attendance ever for the three-day tour, said Phil Cauley, WCU’s assistant vice chancellor for undergraduate enrollment. And that was despite the fact that remnants of Hurricane Florence had just passed through, causing schools to be closed in many areas.
In retrospect, Cauley said he believes the facts that schools were closed and students had no homework or after-school obligations such as athletics practices were factors contributing to the big attendance numbers.
Another factor that likely had an impact was ramped-up promotions for the events by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and increased collaborative promotions involving Admissions and University Marketing. Also, admissions staff sent late reminders to students registered for the programs to assure them that they were still a go, he said.
Added to the mix is the general momentum currently enjoyed by the university after successive years of record enrollment and the resulting increase in “word-of-mouth marketing,” Cauley said. Plus, compared to last year, more guests at the programs were aware of the NC Promise tuition plan and its effect in lowering the cost of attendance at WCU, and some of the prospective students already were aware of the fact that WCU’s Pride of the Mountains Marching Band will be participating in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in November 2019 – the first semester of college for those prospective student-musicians who are seniors, he said.