Monday, November 26, 2012

Seeking Prospective Students in Asia

Jake Recker | Editor for "The Mount"

“I thought Mount Michael’s trip to Asia was beneficial for a variety of reasons. It gave us the opportunity to meet with our current parents, touch base with some of our international alums, and to recruit new students,” Admissions Director Eric Crawford said. This is the third time Crawford has been in Asia for recruiting; the trip took place in late October, and Crawford was joined by Dr. David Peters, Head of School.

On the trip, Peters and Crawford traveled to China and South Korea. They visited the cities of Shanghai, Beijing, and Seoul. The main focus of the trip was recruiting. They attended a school fair in Shanghai along with 40 other boarding schools from the U.S. and Canada. At the fair, the pair was able to meet with many students interested in coming to Mount Michael. Mount Michael rates as the top all-male boarding school in the country for both affordability and standardized test scores, making it an attractive choice for international students looking for an American education. Recruiting was not the only part of the agenda in China, however. During their stay, Peters and Crawford had the opportunity to advance Mount Michael’s relationship with Chinese schools as well. Peters and Crawford visited two schools, a grade school in Wuxi, China and a high school in Beijing. The visit to the grade school in Wuxi was set up by the Omaha Chamber of Commerce with the idea that this institution could become a sister school with Mount Michael. The high school they visited is the top school in Beijing. Crawford and Peters met with the assistant principal; they were surprised to learn that she was so impressed with Mount Michael that her school hopes to collaborate on school projects with Mount Michael in the future.

Peter’s and Crawford’s stay in Seoul consisted mostly of visiting with the families of our current students. “Meeting with the parents was a great way for the parents to meet someone from the school for the first time, and it was also beneficial for them to get information on the school,” Peters said. Not only is Mount Michael expanding its recruiting internationally, the school is looking to recruit more in the United States. Recently Crawford attended boarding school fairs in both New York and Dallas to put Mount Michael’s name out on a national level. He is also putting more ads about Mount Michael in cities such as Des Moines, Kansas City, and Sioux City. Both these recruiting efforts, international and national, help Mount Michael maintain its student population. The school wants to keep the international population at around 10% so that it will remain an immersion experience for international students. In order to keep that balance, Mount Michael needs a broad domestic recruiting system.

In any case, Mount Michael’s enrollment is growing. After this year’s senior class of 38 graduates, the hope is to have every incoming freshman class at around 65 students. This will boost the entire enrollment to about 240, the school’s maximum carrying capacity. In order to maintain its competitive edge, Mount Michael wants to receive more applicants than the school can accept. This way, Mount Michael will have high performing students, both locally and internationally. “We want to make sure we have the best qualified students coming from all over. We want to gain more internationally, but we still want to serve Nebraska students first and make sure we get the best out of Omaha,” said Crawford.

Mount Michael’s international program is unique. Without the international students, Mount Michael would lose an aspect of its culture not found in any other Omaha school, and the trips to Asia only further strengthen Mount Michael’s international program. “We want to make this trip to Asia a regular one. We hope to go back every two years from now on to be able to stay connected with families and alumni in Asia as well as to implement a new and exciting recruitment tool,” Peters said.