Recruitment materials and presentations accurately represent the institution's practices and policies. (Federal Requirement 4.6)
Recruitment materials and presentations accurately represent the institution's practices and policies. Longwood University provides for prospective students and their families a wide array of printed recruitment materials, multiple opportunities on campus and off campus for face-to-face interaction with representatives of Longwood, and electronic/online recruitment materials. Longwood produces materials for prospective undergraduate and graduate students, as well as for students taking classes online, and materials designed for specific audiences, such as international students. The compliance narrative will address each of these audiences and types of recruitment materials.
Longwood University employs different organizational structures for undergraduate and graduate admissions. Undergraduate admissions activities, including recruitment materials and presentations, are centralized and handled by the Office of Admissions. Graduate admissions and recruitment are primarily program-centered and driven by the area coordinator and faculty for the specific program.
Two policies approved by the Board of Visitors govern materials produced for both undergraduate and graduate admissions and recruitment. All print and online recruitment materials must be approved by the Office of Public Relations in accordance with the Official Longwood Publications policy. The Office of Public Relations is also charged with obtaining complete and accurate information on all aspects of the institution, as set forth in the Release of Information Concerning Longwood University policy. The Office of Admissions checks all content with the appropriate office for accuracy and then submits external publications to the Office of Public Relations in accordance with university policy. In February 2009, the Office of Assessment and Institutional Research (OAIR) initiated a meeting with the Office of Public Relations to discuss more efficient and effective ways to work together regarding publications and official profile data. This meeting led to an agreement to obtain all statistical information from the OAIR and to a collaborative redesign of the OAIR website.
In order to develop a cohesive brand identity for all marketing efforts targeted to undergraduates, including prospective students, in 2004 Longwood retained CRT/tanaka, a marketing and public relations firm in Richmond, Virginia. The result of their research and creative process was the development of the "Discover the Power in You" marketing tagline and campaign. As part of the research process, CRT/tanaka identified three key decision drivers-items that can be demonstrated to affect the decision of applicants and their families to choose Longwood. These decision drivers are small class sizes, interaction with dedicated faculty, and the internship program. Longwood has continued to work with CRT/tanaka, which has included social media in the 2009-10 marketing plan to energize admissions communications. All publications produced by CRT/tanaka are subject to the University review policies described above.
Print materials available from the Office of Admissions include the following:
- General information publications, such as the Excel, Discover, Experience brochure
- Multi-page fliers such as those about programs in teacher preparation, business, economics, health, recreation, and kinesiology
- Tri-fold fliers about each major, following a common format (for example, chemistry)
Graphic design of many undergraduate admissions materials was completed by CRT/tanaka. CRT/tanaka also worked with the Office of Public Relations to produce a series of print ads featuring testimonials of four Longwood students from the Cormier Honors College for Citizen Scholars that were featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education in spring 2009. The undergraduate catalog includes admissions requirements and other information about Longwood.
The Office of Graduate and Extended Studies produces a 15-page guide to graduate studies at Longwood and assists in publishing individual brochures for each of the graduate programs. The brochures follow a common format that complements the guide, with content provided by the appropriate program faculty. The graduate catalog includes admissions requirements and other information about graduate studies at Longwood.
In addition to the recruitment materials described above, Longwood produces some specialty publications as well. For example, Longwood has a specialty publication designed to recruit international students and an information flier for transfer students. Given that out-of-state students are a target group, CRT/tanaka developed a brochure specifically for this population. It is used at out-of-state college fairs and high school visits.
The Office of Admissions does not produce recruitment materials that deal specifically with diversity. Longwood has made the conscious decision to be inclusive in all printed and online materials because we believe that this approach will attract a more diverse student body.
Face-to-face undergraduate recruiting takes place both on and off campus and includes direct interaction with admissions staff, student-to-student interactions, and campus tours.
- Longwood's admissions staff distribute materials and give presentations at college fairs and during high school visits with admissions counselors. Professional recruiters are also used, particularly to recruit students from outside Virginia.
- Current Longwood students selected for the Student-to-Student volunteer program return to their high schools to talk about Longwood with teachers and high school students. The volunteers are solicited via campus e-mail and are provided instruction and materials. Approximately 25 to 30 students participated in this program during the 2008-09 academic year.
- On-campus recruiting is accomplished through open houses and regularly scheduled campus admissions tours. There are four open houses per year, two each in the fall and spring. A standard slideshow is used for large group presentations about Longwood and supplemented with smaller program-specific presentations that are often conducted by department chairs or area coordinators. Current students who participate in Longwood Ambassadors, a tour guide and service group that is trained and advised by admissions staff, also conduct small-group campus tours. Longwood Ambassadors are trained from a tour manual and receive feedback after open houses and regularly scheduled admissions tours. Longwood Ambassadors also conduct the regularly scheduled admissions tours, which include the standard slideshow followed by a campus tour.
Faculty in each of the graduate programs typically communicate with prospective students in response to inquiries. Since most of the programs in the College of Education and Human Services are geared to educators in Virginia seeking additional credentials, the faculty in these programs are intentional in their recruiting efforts. For example, faculty in the school library media program hold interest meetings in school divisions around the state, distributing print materials and answering questions. Faculty in the literacy and culture and educational leadership programs also visited several locations in 2009.
Longwood strives to maintain a diverse recruitment staff, and all staff members are dedicated to recruiting a diverse student body. In addition, an African American admissions counselor has a unique recruiting territory that includes high schools throughout the state with a significant population of African Americans. For over a year, Longwood has advertised for a professional staff member to assume a similar lead role in recruiting students from underrepresented populations of Latino students and students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. When utilizing student panels at programs or open houses, the Office of Admissions makes every effort to seat a diverse panel.
The Longwood undergraduate admissions website, WhyLongwood.com, was developed by the Office of Public Relations using a graphic design and color scheme that reinforces those found in print materials developed by CRT/tanaka. CRT/tanaka developed the "Discover the Power in You" theme/tagline after interviews with current students, faculty, and alumni to reflect the idea that Longwood's class sizes and interaction with faculty members allow students to identify their strengths and reach their potential. Several minor inconsistencies in online undergraduate information were identified during the compliance audit and are being addressed. These include class size, student/faculty ratios, and SAT mid-range scores.
In addition to the CRT/tanaka-generated content, there are student-produced materials in a variety of media on the Longwood Live page. Each of the currently active initiatives has review and oversight procedures.
- The students who produce the Longwood Show webcast meet weekly with public relations staff and communications studies faculty. When a final episode is posted, an e-mail is sent to Admissions, Public Relations, and CRT/tanaka asking for comment.
- Students posting to the Longwood REAL Life blog are selected by admissions and public relations staff. The director of web communications meets with them at the beginning of the year, distributes a user guide, and approves every entry before it actually posts to the website. Questionable material would be removed immediately and reviewied.
- Vlognog, a video blog by a student selected by admissions and public relations staff, started in fall 2009. The director of web communications met with the student at the beginning of the year and receives an automatic e-mail when something is posted. Questionable material is immediately removed and reviewed, although this has not been necessary to date.
Graduate admissions information and applications are available online though the Graduate and Extended Studies website. Departments offering graduate programs also typically have information on their departmental web pages. For example, the College of Business and Economics has online information about the MBA program.
The undergraduate admissions website includes specific information for transfer students. The Office of International Affairs has a website devoted to recruiting international students to Longwood. Information specific to online courses at Longwood can be found at the Online@Longwood website, with appropriate links to the undergraduate and graduate admissions sites noted above.
While some institutions have eliminated paper applications in lieu of the online option, Longwood continues to provide both options so that applicants who do not have computer access are not prohibited from applying. Longwood continues to use a mix of online and print materials so that messages can reach all households of potential students.