VTSU admissions rise following merger

If you’ve ventured along Seminary Street any time recently, you’ve undoubtedly seen the signs reading “Admissions Event” accompanied by large, pointing arrows. When followed, these arrows direct you to Wright House, one of the smallest official buildings on Castleton’s campus, yet also one of the busiest.

As Vermont State University approaches the end of its first full year of operation, those who work in Wright House in admissions find themselves excited not only for these events, but also for the future of VTSU.

“We have seen a 14% increase in student applications, and an increase of 23% in admitted students across all campuses,” says Maurice Ouimet, the vice president of Admissions and Enrollment Services for VTSU. He also said that this trend of growth is one that should continue after this year as other benefits of the merger begin to draw more and more students to the state.

But what are these benefits exactly? Well, one has to do with the name itself.

“It gives us instant credibility,” Ouimet said, and this was something that was also mentioned by others in the office. According to Amanda Ley, one of the counselors that works directly with prospective students, the level of interest at college fairs around the country has been going up.

“They’re reporting so many new inquiries,” she said excitedly of the VTSU representatives who are currently on the road attending these fairs. This increasingly wide reach of the school that has been provided by the VTSU name is becoming more and more apparent closer to home, especially to the student guides who give the tours of the campus. One such guide, junior Jake Barth, has only given a few tours so far this semester and he can tell that there’s “a lot more publicity now with the new model.” Recently Barth said he’s shown families from Texas and Florida around the campus, and says other guides have had families that have just as far.

Those coming from out of state also haven’t expressed as much concern with the merger as prospective in-state families have, he said.

“For many of them, the universities in their home states have already gone through this,” Ley added.

Because of this, everyone mentioned that there have been fewer questions overall from the families regarding the VTSU merger this year than last, as those who come to visit were already interested in what the school has to offer.

To achieve all of this success though, the admissions team has had to put in an immense amount of work. Even before the merger was made official, counselors and recruiters were already promoting the changes to those interested, making sure that those who expressed interest in Castleton and VTSU were well aware of what was happening.

On top of recruiting, the merger has also turned the admissions building into a sort of communications hub, with counselors and student workers connecting people and families to other departments and campuses.

“A lot of time was given to learning new things and trying to support all types of incoming communications,” said Patrick Rogers, the associate director of Admissions. Rogers, who spoke with pride when asked about his team, also acknowledged the fact that there are still some things that can be improved upon, but that those are things that will be sorted out with time as they continue to fine tune their new system.

The transition to VTSU was one of the largest changes in the histories of all of the schools involved. Yet this transition, by all accounts, was one that was needed.

“This is the trend. Schools like ours either come together and adapt, or they close down,” Ouimet said.

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