Redefining community college recruitment

July 29, 2019
  • Admissions and Recruitment
  • Communications Plan
  • Community Colleges
  • Enrollment Goals
  • Enrollment Management
  • SEM Conference
  • sem planning
North Idaho College's campus next to a body of water on a sunny day with blue skies

Like many community colleges, North Idaho College (NIC) often faces a last-minute swell in registration the week before school starts -- a pattern that can create chaos in advising, class scheduling, and course decisions.

“That was just one reason we really needed to ensure a better pipeline,” said Teresa Borrenpohl, Enrollment Services Center Manager at NIC. “How could we take this population of 400 students and get them enrolled in classes in May, when their habit was to enroll in August?”

By changing their high school recruitment focus, NIC cut that last-minute registration number in half. They also had a 25 percent increase in matriculated area high school seniors.

“Our new process helps us to strategically plan for the upcoming academic year,” Borrenpohl said. “We have a better understanding of our class size which helps us to better serve our student’s academic and service needs. A natural side effect of strategic planning for our students are the positive benefits for our staff and faculty through better academic planning for instructors to manageable summer workloads for advisors.”

NIC Connect: A shift in resources

NIC Connect is an enrollment program that builds a pipeline for high school seniors at the five North Idaho counties served by NIC. 

With five purposeful events held December-May in those schools, NIC representatives share relevant information at key points in the college application process.

“We’re able to capture students where they are -- in the classroom,” Borrenpohl said. 

All visits are conducted during school hours and with a specific goal. If students attended an event were not ready for the next step, NIC representatives would work with the student to bring them up to the same enrollment process steps as their peers. 

Outcomes measured

With one year of Connect under their belts, already NIC has some impressive results, including:

• Application rates. 47.4% of Region I high school seniors applied to North Idaho College in 2018. This is up from the five previous years including 2017 (45.94%), 2016 (42.52%), 2015 (37.51%), and 2014 (37.86%). 

• Matriculation. 416 NIC Connect participants are currently enrolled in courses at NIC. Previous yields include 2017 (279), 2016 (213), 2015 (237), and 2014 (281). 2018 reflects a 25% increase from fall of 2017 to fall of 2018. 

• Satisfaction. 100% of college counselors expressed satisfaction with the NIC Connect program (70% Strongly Satisfied, 30% satisfied). 

• Connection. 122 of 142 student exit surveys stated that students now have a contact at North Idaho College that they feel comfortable to reach out to. 

“We’re in our second year right now and are crunching the retention data,” “Borrenpohl said. She expects to have that information by this fall’s AACRAO SEM Conference, where she will be presenting an in-depth session on NIC Connect. 

Learn more about the Community College sessions at the SEM Conference by exploring the searchable conference database and register now for the meeting.


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