Admissions expects increase in out-of-state students

More and more students from across the nation are applying to Simpson College.

According to records from the Admissions office, the number of out-of-state applications has increased by approximately 100 from this time last year.

The increase is the result a recent push by the school to recruit more out-of-state students.

Admissions Counselor Tiffany Hummel spends approximately five months a year traveling around the U.S., attending college fairs and meeting prospective students.

Hummel and other representatives travel to states neighboring Iowa, and they have recently added other states to their schedules as well.

“This year I met with students in Colorado, Arizona, Florida and Texas,” Hummel said. “Those were states we hadn’t visited in several years.”

In addition to college fairs, the school also hosts several open houses throughout the year. Admissions representatives, professors, coaches and students travel to neighboring states and host events for prospective students as well as alumni.

Hummel uses the Internet to keep in contact with potential applicants.

“Students today are getting everything online,” Hummel said. “We try to accommodate them with e-mail, blogs and even MySpace.”

Many potential students are attracted to Simpson’s music and athletic programs.

“A lot of southern states do not have any athletics beyond Division I,” Hummel said. “That makes Simpson and other Midwestern Division III schools a big draw to high school athletes.”

Sophomore Chelsea Donison, who is from Saskatchewan, Canada, was looking for a good theatre program. Donison was also considering some major universities but decided a small school was right for her.

“When I visited, I loved the campus,” Donison said. “I felt like the people in admissions were sincere. They weren’t just trying to feed me what I wanted to hear.”

Hummel agreed that a lot of people are drawn by the campus.

“Last week I had a mom refer to it as the hidden gem of the Midwest,” she said. “People are pleasantly surprised.”

Simpson has done a lot of work to appeal to out-of-state students. Last year, the school started travel reimbursement for students who come a certain distance. Admissions representatives also try to personalize their college visits.

Many students choose Simpson because they know alumni from the school or have relatives in the area.

Freshman Brett DePue of California was very familiar with the school. His mother grew up in Indianola and also attended Simpson.

“It was a really good choice for me,” DePue said. “I wanted a small school, and I get to play soccer. Plus, I have family nearby.”

DePue had few problems transitioning to Simpson.

“The adjustment was easy because I got involved in so many things,” DePue said. “I got to know people right away.”

Donison agreed.

“I think at first it is hard for every first year (student),” Donison said. “The first month was kind of tough to be away from my family, but once I met people and became involved, Simpson became my home.”

Hummel likes to use out-of-state students like DePue and Donison to recruit others.

“I want those prospective students to be able to imagine themselves here,” Hummel said.

One of the main reasons to recruit out of state is to increase diversity at Simpson.

“Right now, it seems like pretty much everyone here is from small town Iowa,” Donison said. “There’s not a lot of diversity here. Where I grew up, it was nothing but diversity.”

Hummel agreed that there is a lot of untouched talent Simpson is missing out on.

“I have a personal goal to double the number of out-of-state students who attend Simpson next year,” Hummel said. “I think you’ll see a noticeable difference in the next two to three years on campus in athletics and academics. We want to attract more students who have a lot of potential.”