Summer is somewhat of a “down time” for me and my work with the University of Denver. It is a time to reflect on how the previous year went, to relax and unwind, and to start planning for my ten weeks of travel in the fall. A lot of planning goes into deciding what high schools to visit, which college fairs to attend, and where to stay all while paying attention to my recruitment budget and at home responsibilities.
I’m often asked how I decide what high schools or college fairs I attend. The majority of the schools I visit have a long standing relationship with us. There are high schools I visit every year, year after year, because these schools continually send us many applications and often times a few students a year. There are some schools in my territory where we will receive as many as 30 applications a year. I also try to make it a point to visit all the schools from which our most current incoming class have attended. This is not always possible but if I am going to be in the general area of the school, I will try and schedule a visit. I’ll also take a look at the high schools from which we saw a significant number of applications for the fall of 2016 and try and visit those. I’ll take a look at how many students have inquired from schools in my territory. If I have a school where there are a large number of students that are interested in DU, I’ll make it a point to visit there as well. Finally, I have high school counselors and students call me and ask me to visit their schools. If I can fit it in my schedule and am in the general area, I will do so.
College fairs work much the same way. I’ll take a look at all of the college fair invitations I receive and decide which are best for us to attend. There are 4-5 fairs I do every year because I am guaranteed to see a good number of students with high interest in DU. I’ll add other fairs based on recent applications or enrolled students from that school or area.
I tend to start my fall recruitment travel the second week of September and end the first week of November. A typical week would have me leaving for a trip on Monday night and returning home Friday afternoon. I average 4-5 high school visits per day and 1-2 college fairs per week. Each high school visit will last anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour. College fairs can be anywhere from one hour to three hours and are typically evening events. In total, I will visit between 110-120 high schools, attend 10-15 college fairs and meet with over 1000 students at these events. I’ll also meet with students individually outside of these visits and college fairs.
In addition to scheduling college fairs and high school visits, I have to decide where to stay. I will spend over 40 nights in hotels during my fall travel. I’ve got to decide the best places to stay based on location while, again, keeping my travel budget in mind. I prefer to stay in one place for a week and drive a little more each day rather than switching hotels every night.
As you can see, there is quite a bit of work and planning that goes into fall travel. It takes a good deal of time to schedule fairs, visits, and accommodations. The planning for me is easier than it might be for others as I have been doing this for the University of Denver for 17 years already. Fall travel is something to which I look forward. However, in early November I’m ready to wrap it up and start reading the applications of all of the great students I had met in the previous 10 weeks.
Craig Dionne - Northeast Regional Director, Undergraduate Admission