Tech retains personalization for growing enrollment

“Cookeville, Tenn. is the epitome of a college town,” Robert Hodum, enrollment management executive director, said. The Admissions Office focuses on recruiting prospective students who are interested in Tech for its academic reputation, comfort and affordability.

“It’s all about college fit,” Alexis Pope, admissions assistant director, said. “Does a student want a city campus, metropolitan campus, or a campus with 30,000 students? They wouldn’t be very satisfied at Tech.”

Admissions makes sure that students and parents know when they visits Tech’s campus the amount of personal attention they will receive.

“You can see it in the fall,” Hodum said, “when you get back, and all the businesses have on their marquees ‘Welcome Back Tech Students’ and Wal-Mart has rugs that say Tennessee Tech.

“I think a lot of students who enroll nowadays have had a personal experience with someone associated with the University,” Hodum said. “They have had some type of personal interaction with either a current or former student, and the message is overwhelmingly positive.”

Hodum and Pope both agreed that they focus on meeting prospective students’ needs.

“Word of mouth really plays a big roll with [future] students,” Hodum said. “Folks they respect tell them ‘Tennessee Tech, now that’s a good school.'”

The Admissions Office tries to improve campus by making it more personalized than it already is and to increase the communication between students and faculty. With enrollment increasing, the small-college appeal for students doesn’t seem to faze Hodum.

“It’s always a concern, and we’ve discussed that in lots of meetings,” Hodum said. “So far, we have been successful at continuing to maintain the personalization. I think one of my responsibilities is to make sure we stay on top of the qualities that students like and all the reasons that students are attracted to Tech.

“We could have 15,000 students and still have the same average class size and personalization.