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Strong North Country Connections Drive SUNY Plattsburgh Admissions Team


North Country high schools and community colleges are a focus for SUNY Plattsburgh’s admissions team throughout the fall, with counselors and directors sharing information and answering questions on the programs and possibilities that exist at the college.

The college has reached out to nearly 3,000 prospective students from the seven counties that make up New York’s North Country this year, said Carrie Woodward, executive director of admissions. The college reaches out to these students through a variety of channels, including direct mail, email, marketing campaigns and will meet with students at more than 75 North Country high schools and community colleges, she said.

“These visits are posted on the admissions travel schedule web page,” Woodward said. In addition, the college touches base with guidance counselors and connects directly with the students whose names are in the admissions database “to let them know when we will be visiting their school.”

Details are available online at https://www.plattsburgh.edu/admissions/travel-schedule/index.html.

Several Outreach Efforts

In addition to recruitment programs that take place in high schools and at community colleges, SUNY Plattsburgh also hosts a variety of on-campus events “that are actively promoted to prospective students and school counselors from the North Country,” Woodward said. They include:

  • College Days: High school juniors are bused in from their schools and participate in admissions presentations, faculty interactions, and campus tours
  • College Night: Nearly 100 regional, state and national colleges and universities converge upon the Field House every fall to meet with students and guidance counselors
  • SUNY Roadshow: Annual event to promote SUNY to North Country high school juniors, where Plattsburgh admissions professionals present alongside colleagues from SUNY Potsdam, Canton, Clinton Community College and North Country Community College

Woodward said that the college also has an admissions adviser who is dedicated to outreach in the North Country.

“In addition to the on-campus events, the adviser also conducts proactive personal outreach such as texting, making phone calls and individual appointments at key stages of the enrollment process,” she said. “Before a student applies, this outreach is focused on relationship building and following up with students after they have visited campus, submitted a request for information form or their SAT/ACT scores.”

Once applications have been submitted, the adviser reaches out to congratulate the student, ask for additional information if necessary, lets him or her know about other opportunities to visit and other steps in the process.

Productive Relationships

Rory LaPage, guidance counselor at Plattsburgh High School, said she has had a very productive relationship with SUNY Plattsburgh admissions.

“I have made telephone calls, exchanged emails and networked at various events like the SUNY Roadshow and annual College Night at the Field House,” LaPage said. “It is important to have those lines of open communication so that we can discuss areas for improvement from both sides.”

Saranac High School counselors Alison Rosenbaum and Nicole Sproule are readying their juniors for a visit to campus Nov. 4 to get a “jump start to the college search process,” they said. While on campus, the juniors will be able to participate in an interactive presentation on the college search process, learn how their strengths translate into majors, and more.

“This program exposes students to a college campus early in the search process and provides them with advice on how to navigate the college admissions process, the counselors said in a letter to parents.

Woodward said competition for North Country students is fierce.

Largest Market Share

According to the New York State Education Department, 3,829 North Country students graduated from high school in 2018, and about half of public and non-public high school graduates in the state enter four-year degree-granting institutions.

The college’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness reported there were 968 North Country students who enrolled in SUNY bachelor’s programs as new freshmen in 2018; SUNY Plattsburgh had the largest market share, with 37 percent, followed by Potsdam at 32 percent.

Accordingly, Woodward said it’s important to recognize that there are many factors that influence a student’s decision to apply to SUNY Plattsburgh.

“This includes alumni relations, athletics, financial aid, teacher education, visual and performing arts and college-sponsored workshops, conferences and meetings, among others,” she said.

She encourages North Country residents who are interested in SUNY Plattsburgh “to complete the request information form on the SUNY Plattsburgh website, which will then begin a connection between the college and the prospective students and their families.

For LaPage’s part, she’s glad for that connection.

“I’m thankful that I can pick up the telephone or have opportunities to network with admissions professionals,” LaPage said. “I feel the connection to local school counselors and admissions professionals is vital so that we can best serve the needs of North Country students.”

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