How are 120 American colleges remaining competitive and relevant today in athletics, community relationships, curriculum reform, and other areas they need to succeed? You can find out in “Innovation and the Independent College: Examples from the Sector,” a report that The Council of Independent Colleges published last March.

What Are Colleges Doing to Keep Enrollment High?

For the purposes of today’s post on our blog, we would like to focus on what the Council of Independent Colleges learned about how American colleges are keeping their classrooms filled by recruiting students from eight distinct different groups.

Transfer Students

A number of colleges are increasing their efforts to recruit transfer students.  Alvernia University in Reading, PA, for example, is now enrolling 100 transfer students every year. To attract them, Alvernia has revamped the way it awards credit for classes that students have taken at other institutions.


Many institutions are ramping up their efforts to enroll them. Webster University in St. Louis, for example, is now offering classes on 39 military installations, from which it recruits students.

International Students

Drew University in Madison, NJ, has started a new program that brings international students to live on the campus for two years while they learn English and skills they will need to matriculate at American colleges. Many of the students who enroll in the program stay and complete their undergraduate work at Drew.

Students of Diverse Faiths

Schools with religious affiliations are actively recruiting students from different faiths. St. Edward’s University, a Catholic institution in Austin, TX, for example, is now recruiting students of all faiths.

Underrepresented Populations

In general, this means recruiting more lower-income students. Bluefield College in Bluefield, VA, is ramping up its efforts to recruit low-income students from cities.

Older Students

For more than 40 years, the University of Redlands in Redlands, CA, has been actively recruiting “mid-life students.”

High School Students

The strategy is to let high school students take college courses for credit. Texas Lutheran University, for example, has started a summer program for high school students who want to study at Texas Lutheran.

Students Who Are at Risk of Dropping Out

This strategy is simplicity itself: colleges are simply ramping up efforts to keep the students they already have. One institution, Malone University in Canton, OH, admits students who didn’t do well in high school (“probationary students”) and then intensively mentors them to help them succeed.

Related Posts
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Research Finds that Only 51% or U.S. High School Students Are Learning to Be Good Global Citizens
Why America’s Universities Still Appeal Strongly to Foreign STEM Students
Should You Be Concerned about Freedom of Speech on Your College Campus?
Is Your Son or Daughter Stalling on College Applications? These Tactics Should Help
The Realities of College Admissions Discrimination

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