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   A Memorial University of Newfoundland Publication

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March 10, 2005


Relationship building boosts registration

Most of Memorial’s undergraduate applicants have likely skimmed Memorial’s promotional literature, seen an ad, surfed the university Web site, or attended an information session before applying to the university. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, Memorial University is not alone in enhancing its profile. But, what’s different is the extra mile that Memorial University is going to ensure its applicants immediately feel like part of the family and the positive result this has had on registration numbers.

It’s called relationship building and it is the key objective of Memorial University’s Establishing Student Relationships Project, an initiative of the Application to Registration Working Group.
“The essence of the project is to increase the number of applicants that turn into registrants, but we also want to ensure the building of relationships with students and the general community that sends the message: Memorial University is a caring institution,” said Roxanne Preston of the Registrar’s Office.

The project involves adding a personal voice to Memorial University. MUCEP students, are trained as peer advisors and assigned to provincial, national and international applicants based on similarities such as program of study and/or their city, province and country of origin. The peer advisors contact applicants via telephone, e-mail or postcard, to touch base, answer questions and, in particular, alleviate the anxieties of applicants who may be unfamiliar with the workings of a post-secondary institution.

Results from the project, which ran in its pilot stage from April to August 2004, revealed an significant increase when comparing the number of applicants who registered to the yield rate of the previous three years. In this academic year, the number of international applicants who registered increased by a significant 6.9 per cent, while national applicants turned registrants increased by a noteworthy 8.8 per cent. Within this province, due to the abundance of applicants, only those offered scholarships were contacted, however the yield rate for this group yielded an impressive 96 per cent registration rate.

Julie Green, project coordinator, said response to the initiative was overwhelming positive. Fall 2004 applicant Brittany Webb of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, called the personal contact very helpful, pointing out that her peer advisor helped to make the transition process a lot less stressful.

Karyn Butler, parent of first-year student Ryan Butler and faculty member at Memorial, was particularly impressed with the individualized attention paid to her son. As a faculty member, she explained that she had witnessed many different strategies for welcoming students to Memorial over the years, and expressed her support for the university’s increased efforts to personalize the process.

“From the moment they apply we want students to feel like they have relationship with Memorial,” said Ms. Green. “Once the connection is there we hope the students will actually come and we will have a relationship with those students that will last well into the future.”

The newly formed group, chaired by Dr. Michael Collins, associate vice-president (academic), consists of representatives from the Registrar’s Office, Student Affairs and Services, Student Recruitment, Academic Advising and Sir Wilfred Grenfell College.