Simpson’s non-Iowans few and far between

Simpsons non-Iowans few and far between

by Jasmynne Sloan

The percentage of out-of-state students from both the United States and other countries in the incoming class has risen from 8 percent in 1998 to 14 percent in 2002.

Attracting more students from other states and countries is one of Simpson’s strategic goals.

“This is a long-term goal so it doesn’t happen overnight, but we’re starting to see the results of the efforts we’ve made at recruiting out-of-state students over the last several years,” said Deb Tierney, vice president for enrollment.

Simpson has the lowest percentage of out-of-state students from the United States with 11.7 percent compared to Central, Coe, Cornell, Luther and Wartburg. Cornell has 62.4 percent of their incoming freshmen class and transfer students from out-of-state.

Among comparison schools, Simpson has the second largest percentage of international students with 2.8 percent in the incoming freshmen class.

The recruitment of out-of-state students has always been a factor in attracting students to Simpson, but it is very similar to recruitment of Iowa students.

“We try to establish personal contact, give them information, explain the admissions process and act on their applications in a timely manner,” Tierney said.

Out-of-state students come to Simpson for a variety of reasons.

“My guidance counselor ran a search on the web for smaller colleges that had certain things, like a music major, not too far of a distance from home, good academic standing and opportunities to play sports,” said freshman Kara DeNoon from Olathe, Kan. “Simpson came up, so I decided to visit campus.”

Cole Zimmerman, director of recruitment, said it was sometimes easier to get out-of-state students to tour campus.

“Out-of-state students want to see our campus, and it takes more effort with Iowan students because they have usually been on campus a few times for one reason or another,” said Zimmerman.

“I heard about Simpson through my roommate and set up a visit to campus,” said freshman Kelli Demitri from Omaha, Neb.

An important factor that affects some out-of-state students is the distance Simpson is from their home town. Simpson attracts a majority of its out-of-state students from the Midwest. According to Tierney, this is because they can reach home within a day’s travel.

“I knew I wanted to go somewhere within three hours of home, but not in Nebraska,” said Demitri.

The admissions staff has been getting more aggressive in recruiting students from areas in the Midwest.

“We’ve picked up the pace with college fairs and high school visits in some areas, especially Omaha and Lincoln, as well as in Kansas City,” said Zimmerman.

A key factor in attracting international students has been the Internet.

In the past, admissions communicated with them using large envelopes of information, but now international students can communicate directly with the college through e-mail.

“The Internet makes it a lot easier to send interested international students information,” said Gwen Schroeder, director of transfer enrollment. “It works out really well because we can answer their questions much faster.”

Another reason Simpson has seen an increase in international students is that the college has improved the financial-aid packages for them.

“International students get equally good financial-aid packages as our traditional students because they are very strong academic students,” Schroeder said.

Word of mouth advertising has also helped Simpson see increased numbers of out-of-state students.

“Because of connections with alumni and friends of the college, we will always attract students from coast to coast, north to south, and we’ll continue to actively recruit those students,” said Tierney.

Schroeder said that many international students have contacts back in their own countries that help get the word out about Simpson.

“I heard about Simpson through one of my friends who came here,” said junior Benjamin Zasendorf. “We studied together in Germany. I also met Aziz, the soccer coach, via e-mail.”