Last semester, Central Baptist College had to significantly reduce its budget due to missing projected enrollment numbers for the Fall 2018-Spring 2019 academic year. To meet enrollment for next fall, the school is adding new recruitment plans and revamping current materials.
Ryan Johnson, vice president for enrollment management, wants to make it clear, though, that the number one thing the administration has done is pray more, specifically by putting prayer up-front during employee meetings.
“It sounds like we’ve not made [prayer] a priority, and that’s not true,” said Johnson. “I think [we] can easily think ‘Okay, what can I do to make this better?’ But we should first be going to God and saying ‘Hey, what do you want to do to make this college better? And help us do what you want us to do.’ ”
One recent recruitment plan is the Adopt-A-Department program. In this program, academic departments partner with the admissions office to further create personal connections with potential students.
“Ever since I’ve been here, we’ve really taken a broad recruiting approach to recruiting students at CBC. We haven’t really done a very good job of recruiting to specific departments, and so this is an effort to do that,” said Johnson. “We hope that from this effort the faculty will really start helping us communicate our values to our prospective students and connect with them personally. College exists to educate, so we want to put our academic programs forward more.”
The Adopt-A-Department program launched at the beginning of the fall 2018 semester and shows potential students more of what their education will look like should they choose to come to CBC.
“Students really want to know what it’s really going to be like to be here in the classroom … and there’s no better way to show them than to get them connected with the faculty member,” said Johnson.
Along with connecting potential students to the academic department of their interest, the Adopt-A-Department program also connects students to alumni.
“[Connecting them to alumni] shows students that
The school is also rebuilding its website in anticipation of a relaunch this summer.
“We’re going to [organize and] simplify the pathway to get connected with us,” said Johnson. “We also want to reorganize [the website] so that current students and employees can navigate it better.”
One goal of the new website is to increase the speed of communication between CBC and students interested in enrolling.
The use of online forms will mean the college begins communicating with students instantly, said Johnson.
“We’re hoping our speed of communication will help bring in more students as well … somebody clicks on our website and signs up and says ‘I’m interested,’ then we want to give them instant feedback, an instant pathway to their next steps.”
The school is also updating its marketing material.
“We’re creating new videos and gathering all sorts of new pictures on campus over this next semester and into the summer. We’ll start to see a whole new line of social media ads go out and bolster our YouTube page … we’re hoping to expand our reach with that,” said Johnson.
Campus tours are being revamped as well, adding more personal touches such as displaying legacy bricks with students’ names on them when they come for their tour.
“Every tour gets their name put on a legacy brick on our digital signage. [Students] start the tour talking about starting their story here and they end the tour seeing their name on a legacy brick,” said Johnson.
The PACE program also is experiencing changes as a part of enhancing recruitment and has also seen a recent increase in enrollment.
“We’re partnering with different for-profit nonprofit organizations and churches out there that don’t have a discount for education,” said Johnson. “We’re offering a small discount for them to come in [as our way of saying] ‘Hey, we want you here.’ ”
Above all, Johnson said he is certain that God is the head of these recruitment plans.
“I know all this creativity we’re having is coming from him. We [have] to be very quick to acknowledge that he’s running the show. He’s sovereign. He’s the one that allows good and bad things to happen and we just have to learn from it.”
Photo by Haley Lingenfelter