Tertiary institutions such as colleges and universities need a constant supply of students in order to meet their financial needs in not only their daily running costs but also to meet costs incurred in research. Nova Southeastern University, a private, non-profit making university, is no exception. It has endeavored to create a sustainable environment for learning which is further supported by a vibrant on-campus life which is vital to students in choosing the institution of higher learning in which to study in. This essay therefore, explores ways in which Nova Southeastern University can attract more students in order to facilitate smoother running in its activities.
The overall need for Nova Southeastern University is to encourage students to study the various courses offered in the instituition and make a career out of it. There is hence a need for the institution to communicate its discovery of the various fields and the deep level of satisfaction enjoyed in pursuance of these courses. The institution needs to phrase from a point of view as to: What attracted this particular student to that specific course? What other fields did the student consider, and why did the student not any choose them? These disciplines need to be presented individually on a basis of their worthwhile, attractive, diverse, challenging and readily on hand career opportunities which is the vital endpoint that students are mainly interested in. The motivation criteria should not be based on academic self-interest but rather on their personal and professional fulfillment. The students need to envision themselves as successful in their careers after graduating. This will greatly compliment all enthusiastic efforts at encouraging the students to enroll at the university. In addition, the efforts put in place should also be persistent, patient and realistic. This is since it takes a considerable amount of time to build a critical student mass that shall enroll in the diverse courses offered in the university.
It is important to encourage students to join Nova Southeastern University as early as in high school and pre-college. Generally, the university’s employees should act as ambassadors wherever they are. Quick, informative and well-thought out responses in answer to any impromptu questions should be formulated before-hand since the employee may be talking to a potential student. Mainly, careers in Mathematics and Statistics are neglected by students under the perception that they are difficult. Most students are not aware of courses such as Applied Statistics and Physics as a career option. Therefore, presentations should be made to high school students during promotion campaigns. During those visits, those responsible for the awareness program should arrange to meet with guidance counselors or better, invite them to the sessions. Further, support should be accorded to the admissions offices by meeting, calling or writing to prospective students and their parents. Ongoing students can also make presentations at each department’s office preview or open house days. By doing so, they are viewed as diplomats or ambassadors advocating these courses. In addition, the ongoing students can offer campus tour guides for those students who envision joining the university. The university’s alumni can come in handy in displaying Nova Southeastern university as a prestigious institution of which they are proud to be associated with. Various workshops can be very vital in ensuring presentations communicate the intended purpose such as a Quantitative Literacy workshop.
The other vital focal point is during the Welcome Week. Most students either change courses or permanently leave the university during this week. Therefore, several changes need to be implemented in order to reverse this trend. Lecturers should be careful when issuing their preliminary promotional remarks so as not to either scare students away or impart an impression that they are in for a rough time and under pressure. In the welcome week, the facilitator should avoid all stereotypical examples that make fun of the discipline and create the impression of drudgery. Each department should have a well written overview of the course. During orientation week, an introduction seminar should be held whereby the essence of studying each particular course is insisted upon. A real-life research project can be presented so as to demonstrate the applicability of that particular field of study in a real case scenario. However, caution must be taken as to the depth of the details since they entail a complex methodology which might end up building a lasting negative impression.
During the second year, students should be encouraged to take up introductory courses rather than in the first year in order to avoid confusion and a feeling of being overloaded. All introductory courses should be taught by the experts in that particular faculty rather than outsourcing from other departments in related and common courses. Preferably, the lecturers should have ample consulting experience gained either as faculty member or full-time consultant in the required field. This is since practitioners not only bring more relevance in the field of study but also express more enthusiasm in teaching. The university should also ensure various departments inter-collaborate so as to look for opportunities both inside and outside the institution. Emphasis should be placed on multidiscipline interaction coupled with strong interpersonal and communication skills.
During the registration advisement period, personal contact should be made with the students who had performed best and encourage them to take up the course and additional courses in the semester. The departmental head should solicit support from fellow colleagues in the preparation of information sheets that indicate on the course prerequisites, the semester sequencing and current offerings in the field. Continuous encouragement and support for students till graduation should be availed so as not to end up with a situation whereby the number of those enrolling is higher but with a minimal corresponding number of grandaunts.
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There are various other vital points in not only enrolling but maintaining a stable number of students in the university. Chief among this is mentorship. An initiative should be taken to contact students regularly so as to offer encouragement and advice as they continue to work towards graduating in these courses. The mentor should be available and approachable informally so as to boost self-confidence and the belief in oneself. Further, the mentor can involve the students in his or her personal research and consultancy. Secondly, it is vital to conduct surveys through interviews on grandaunts. Establish why they chose that career path and ask for their view on what would attract more students into that career path. This can be extended to a similar survey conducted in students already practicing in that field. Have them analyze the measures that have been put into place and let them point out the strengths and weaknesses of the same. Thirdly, publish success story of the successful alumni in each field and avail them in the student’s library and departmental websites. Finally, it is important to incorporate technology. The university should embrace e-learning which ensures students can study at the comfort of their homes and which shall also further its distance education program.
If Nova Southeastern University shall continue to thrive and expand its student base in the face of stiff competition, there as a need to implement the aforementioned changes as rapidly as possible. Although most of these changes will take time, in the long-run, the benefits acquired will far outmatch the physical and financial effort put in the implementation of these strategies.
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