The President’s View – Winter 2018

It is no secret that enrollments at colleges and universities all over the United States are down. In fact, they have been in a steady, downward trend for five straight years. The main cause of this decline is a dip in the birth rate, especially in the Northeast, meaning that fewer and fewer 18-year-olds are coming out of high schools and applying to colleges.

Norwich is seeing this national trend played out in a decrease in the number of applications it is receiving. And although we are more fortunate than many small, independent schools in that we have been able to fill the freshman class each of the past five years, we depend on an abundance of applications in order to do that. Why? More applications mean more choices. But beyond being able to enroll the best students, for whom the competition is keen, we want to attract and retain students who are looking for the kind of education that Norwich—and only Norwich—can give them. As alumni, you know what that means more than anyone.

Service with a Smile: Norwich Admissions Ambassador Doug Houle ’87 (center) watches the NU vs. Coast Guard football game from the President’s Suite with the president and USCGA Superintendent Rear Admiral James Rendon (right). Houle volunteers as an Admissions Ambassador for both Norwich and the Coast Guard Academy, and is an officer with the NU Club of Arizona.

Here at Norwich, we are tuition-dependent, in other words, we must fill every available bed if we are to stay financially solvent. Simply put, we cannot afford not to be full, and our hardworking admissions staff uses a number of strategies to ensure that we do fill each incoming class: targeting schools with strong JROTC programs, attracting students interestedin fields we specialize in—such as cybersecurity, nursing, and criminal justice—recruiting student-athletes for our sports teams, and expanding their outreach to new regions of the country. But our recruiters cannot have a presence at every college fair or visit every high school guidance office, which is why I am counting on you to be my force multipliers.

An independent college education is a huge investment these days, and families must believe that they are getting their money’s worth. What better person to convince them of the value of a Norwich education than a real live Norwich graduate? Time and again, word of mouth has proven to be the most effective recruitment strategy there is, and although Norwich has a unique product, mission, and legacy, it is not widely known. If you are not asking every 15- to 18-year-old you meet if they have heard of Norwich, you are missing an opportunity to spread Norwich’s message.

In addition to pitching Norwich to the kid in your neighborhood who delivers your paper
or the scout who sells you cookies, consider becoming a Norwich Admissions Ambassador: a
liaison between prospective students and Norwich. Once you register, the folks in Admissions
will contact you twice a year (summer and winter) with a list of college fairs to which
Norwich has been invited. You choose which college fairs you would be willing to attend as a
Norwich representative, and Admissions will ship you materials and a “how to” manual. You
can also notify Admissions of college fairs in your area, and even if you cannot attend, they
can be added to the roster and attended by someone else. And parents, you, too, can be NU
Admissions Ambassadors!

Learn how becoming an Admissions Ambassador could become part of your Norwich
legacy.

Norwich Forever!

Richard W. Schneider

 

 

Richard W. Schneider
RADM, USCGR (Ret.)

 

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