Iowa Private College Week sees visits drop

by Steffi Lee

Attendance at Iowa Private College Week was down by around 50 people compared to previous years at Simpson College, Director of Recruitment Cole Zimmerman said.

Many other private colleges also faced the issue of fewer students visiting.

“We had well over 4,000 visits made on our college campuses across the state during the week,” Andy Baumert, vice president of marketing and outreach of the Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, which oversees the event, said. “However, this year’s turnout was not the same as the previous years for this program.”

Both Zimmerman and Baumert agree that attendance numbers were primarily affected by schedule conflicts.

“I think we’re having it too late in the summer by only about a week,” Zimmerman said. “We have suggested [having Iowa Private College Week earlier] to the organization who plans it, because here’s what we ran into – by having it the week that they did, historically it’s always been the same week, but the high schools have crossed things up a bit and have started things earlier, like football.”

A variety of reasons may be involved, Baumert said, but he agrees that one of the factors is that high schools begin practices for fall sports before Iowa Private College Week is held.

What Zimmerman feels that affects Simpson directly are also other extracurricular activities, such as marching band.

“Take a school like Indianola High School that has over a hundred kids in their marching band. Indianola High School has about 245 students in their senior class this year,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman strongly believes that by having Iowa Private College Week one week earlier, all of the colleges would miss the extracurricular camps. This would allow students to have time to visit schools before they become busy.

In Zimmerman’s eyes, the low turnout should not affect enrollment for future years.

The good news is, for next year, a majority of the students wanting to participate in Iowa Private College Week should not face schedule conflicts.

“The way the calendar works out next year, Iowa Private College Week starts before the earliest fall sports practices, so the calendar sort of adjusts itself,” Baumert said.