Harding’s Office of Admissions hired five new recruiters and added two new admission counselor positions within the last year. With fall 2019 being Scott Hannigan’s first time to begin the year as senior director of admissions after stepping into the role mid-September last year, there are multiple new tactics and techniques in the works for the admissions team.
According to Hannigan, several new initiatives have been introduced within the office to help make this year a successful recruitment season. Some of these include a restructuring of the recruitment district, the introduction of a mentorship program between admissions staff members, and the reworking of campus-visit opportunities such as Bison Days.
“We’ve made some really positive changes, and I’m excited to see those take effect and shape this year,” Hannigan said. “We’re getting to start the whole year with a new and larger team and a really strong game plan.”
Increased efforts over the summer and beginning of the semester have already garnered results, according to Hannigan. He said the University is up 10% in applicants for fall 2020 as compared to the same time last year.
“[The year] started off really strong, at least in admissions,” Hannigan said. “All of the early indicators are really positive.”
One of the initiatives Hannigan said he is particularly excited about is a new mentorship program within the Office of Admissions. Jason White took charge of this project, in which new admissions counselors are partnered with experienced recruiters to learn from.
Hannah Bramlett is the newest member of the admissions team. After being hired in July two months after graduating from Harding, she said there has been a lot of information to learn, and she is thankful for the mentorship program.
“I think everyone getting [a mentor] is really cool,” Bramlett said. “There’s a lot of stuff going on all the time with this job, so it’s nice to have someone who is much more experienced that’s always going to help you out.”
Several changes were made to organized campus-visit dates, Hannigan said. One of the Bison Days weekends previously held in the spring was moved to the fall semester, and the first Saturday-only visit day will take place on Sept. 14. Hannigan also said they are trying to be more intentional with programming for prospective students on these visits, including putting a bigger emphasis on the Searcy community and Harding’s place within it during Bison Days.
“They’re here for a full weekend to not just learn about Harding and our campus but to learn about Searcy,” Hannigan said. “Oftentimes, that’s an objection that we hear: ‘Searcy is a smaller town.’ Those of us who live here and work here have figured out that Searcy’s got a lot more to offer than maybe you realize.”
As a student worker and ambassador within Admissions for over a year, senior Halle Maddox has witnessed some of the changes taking place. She said she has been impressed with Hannigan and the trajectory of admissions for the future.
“I think with a lot of the new marketing techniques and things that are being brought about, it’s going to help us connect to those prospective students better,” Maddox said. “I think that’s really going to help. It’s going to do some really good things.”