Even though technology has changed the game in college admissions, that doesn’t mean we’ve abandoned the time-honored method of communicating with future undergraduate students through the U.S. Postal Service.
The College of Education’s Student Services embarked on a marketing project this spring that featured postcards with photos and personal messages from students and faculty about the excellent programs at NIU.
Kristin Rinehart, coordinator of recruitment in Student Services, says the postcards help to “convince students that the NIU College of Education is definitely the place to be.”
“Our postcard project is a great way to create excitement about the College of Education among newly admitted students who are considering us as a possible college choice,” Rinehart says.
“Research shows that new students want to feel excited about the colleges that they are considering,” she adds. “In addition, research shows that they value the opinion of other students in the college selection process, want to feel connected to their program of study and desire personalized attention from faculty and staff.”
Each of the seven undergraduate programs was featured in both rounds.
January’s first batch of postcards focused on peer-to-peer communications: notes from current students who are recipients of various scholarships to freshman and transfer admits for this summer and fall.
Participants were Taylor Aasen (Elementary Education), Alfredo Cervantes (Athletic Training), Courtney Christin (Physical Education), Abbey Gorham (Special Education), Tabbi Grosch (Early Childhood Studies), Tyler Hayes (Kinesiology) and Hannah Schlecht (Middle Level Teaching and Learning).
June’s second round of mailings connected faculty – all of whom were nominated by their department chairs – with those freshman and transfer admits.
Peter J. Chomentowski III (Exercise Physiology), Myoung Jung (Early Childhood), Jessica Martinez (Athletic Training), James Cohen (Curriculum and Instruction), Toni Van Laarhoven (Special Education), Zachary Wahl-Alexander (Physical Education) and Donna Werderich (Literacy Education) represented their programs.
Students wrote about why they made the right choice in coming to NIU while faculty wrote of why they love teaching here. All included messages of what students learn in their courses and the hands-on learning opportunities available.
“I’m learning to have patience with children,” Christin wrote, “and about the power of ‘yet’ — just because one child doesn’t understand at first doesn’t mean they never will. It only means they do not understand yet.”
“Teaching middle school is an adventure, not a job,” Werderich wrote. “It requires teachers who understand and appreciate the diversity and unique complexity of young adolescents who are constantly changing mentally, physically, socially and emotionally.”
Dropping postcards in the mail reaches another important audience, Rinehart says.
“Being paper mail with eye-catching visibility, they also bring these messages to parents and other important adults in the students’ households,” she says. “We are thrilled with how the postcards turned out, and we will continue to build on them in a variety of ways for future recruitment ventures.”