Saturday, September 18, 2010

Open House

Today we had the first of two open house days for us folks in the STEM fields. These events, created by the good folks in admissions offer the opportunity for prospective students and their parents to visit JMU and see what we are all about. We open the labs and give tours. There's a time to hear a set presentation about the department. All around, it is good time to meet and greet.

While there was over 1000 students plus their parents here, as usual, few were interested physics. Best estimate is that fewer than 20 students and their parents visited our department, probably closer to 15. While this sounds like small numbers, it isn't so bad. Consider: our freshmen class runs about 25-30. If 15 come now and again on December 4 for the next open house, that's a pretty good turn out.

It is always the case that our best tool for recruiting is one-on-one contact. Having a chance to talk with these 15 or so students today is a good way to increase the likelihood of getting them to come to JMU. If today we encouraged a few more to apply for admission, then we have another chance to get them on campus during the scholarship exam season. Another chance to communicate one-on-one.

We continue to build a strong program and today's effort is part of this process. A politician once noted that 99% of everything that is done during a campaign is a waste. Think of the money we could save if we only did the right 1%. The problem is that no one knows what that right 1% happens to be. The same is true of recruiting.