When building its game-changing admission tour, the university focused on five clever touchpoints to prospective students.
1. Say their name.
Students who visit Lynn for the admission tour see their names on display no less than six times, from a monitor in the lobby to a reserved table in the dining commons.
“Even the person manning the guardhouse knows their name,” said Taryn Hamill ’08, ’10, associate director of enrollment management. “It’s a great first impression and reinforces that we’re glad they chose to visit Lynn.”
That personal touch impacts students’ enthusiasm level: 92 percent of admitted students in the classes of 2015 and 2016 said Lynn was their first- or second-choice school.
Even years later, that first glimpse of their name on a personalized parking space remains a bright spot.
“They light up when I ask them about that signature moment,” Hamill said. “It’s a big deal.”
2. Feed them.
Two words: ice cream. If a student doesn’t fall in love with on-demand soft-serve, there’s always the vegan station.
“We anchor the tour around lunch,” Hamill said. “At Lynn, we love to eat and we love to talk. Lunch gets them in on the conversation.”
Gareth Fowles ’99, ’01, vice president for enrollment management, said the recruitment program that supports the tour is meant to attract students who really want to be at Lynn.
“Connecting with the right student correlates to better retention rates,” he said, “and better graduation rates.”
Welcoming all styles means in-state, out-of-state, international, Institute for Achievement and Learning students and athletes, from all backgrounds, lactose-loving or vegan. The goal, Fowles said, is a student body that looks like the world.
3. Grab a professor.
Before Lynn 2020, the admission tour took place four times a day for an hour. Now, the tour is three hours long, twice a day, by appointment. Counterintuitively, this change has increased the number of tours per year by 570.
The tour is intentional and academic-minded: Entrepreneurship students might ask questions of a business professor in the Snyder Idea Lab; an aviation student might check out the planes with a flight instructor.
“Faculty have made this program successful,” Hamill said. “It’s like we have an army of admission counselors across campus.”
Like the tour, Lynn in general has become more academic, incrementally tightening its selectivity since the start of Lynn 2020. The grade point average of entering freshmen has jumped from 2.7 to 3.0, and SAT scores have increased by 65 points.
4. Walk slowly by the hammocks.
The focus of Lynn’s campus tour is on outcomes (jobs), internships, safety, faculty members and course offerings.
It doesn’t hurt to take a detour by the hammocks, though. “The campus itself and the weather are still selling points,” Hamill said. “But they’re just one part of the Lynn experience.”
The students who lead the tour are given weeks of preparation, focused on school offerings and its history, as well as public speaking tips. But Fowles insists that every tour follow its own unique path, not a script.
“I want our ambassadors to tell their own stories and to tell the whole authentic story of Lynn,” he said. “Parents might not want to hear it, but when the tour guide tells what actually happens in college, the student knows they’re hearing the truth.”
5. Welcome all ages, too.
A high school junior making the rounds the summer before senior year is the typical tour. But Lynn isn’t typical.
The college has worked hard to attract graduate students, and its enrollment increase of 78 percent is one of the most remarkable successes of Lynn 2020.
“I can’t say enough about (director of graduate and online admission) Steve Pruitt and his team,” Fowles said. “They have created so many educational partnerships with local companies, including Office Depot and Jardin. The response has resulted in the largest graduate enrollment in the history of the college.”
A graduate tour focuses on what matters to a 25- to 50-year-old student: the bottom line. In most cases, it’s just one year to complete a master’s degree, with no GMAT required, and it costs less than $26,000.
Praise for Lynn’s campus visit experience
“Students and parents regularly comment on how different the experience is from the tours they’ve gone on at other colleges and universities.”
Inside Higher Ed
“The faculty member at lunch has been briefed on your hometown and intended major. How do they know all this stuff? Visitors preregister and are then called to find out their interests.”
The New York Times