Text Only
Login to PAWSBaton Rouge, Louisiana |
LSU Recruits High-Caliber Freshmen Class

LSU Freshman Convocation
Innovative recruitment programs and
financial aid packages were critical in building LSU's impressive freshman class.
BATON ROUGE – “Recruiting” is not just for athletics anymore.

On the academic side, LSU is using new recruiting initiatives to attract students with higher ACT scores, enroll more diverse students, and compete successfully against universities in other SEC states. LSU is also creating new programs to ensure student success and increase retention and graduation rates, which are currently the highest they’ve ever been in the university’s history at 85.4 and 58.9 percent, respectively.

“The 2008 freshman class at LSU exemplifies our efforts,” said LSU Chancellor Michael Martin. “The class shows continued improvements in ACT scores and large increases in African-American and non-resident students. But, while we are moving in the right direction, we still have more work to do.”

Even before the fall semester began, the trends were evident. In 2008,

According to LSU’s Vice Provost for Enrollment Management Jim McCoy, who directs the university’s overall recruitment outreach strategy, these trends are evidence that LSU’s recruiting efforts are working.

“Because of a projected decrease in the number of college-age students from Louisiana, we set out to increase the number of out-of-state students at LSU,” McCoy said. “We instituted a two-year direct-mail campaign for out-of-state students, and it continues to pay dividends, and we are going to continue our aggressive efforts to recruit higher-caliber students and promote diversity.”

Mary Parker, executive director of admissions and student aid, said the university also engaged in a massive follow-up campaign for students who applied, using LSU’s best asset – its people – to help with recruiting.

“In terms of recruiting, our faculty was a tremendous asset for us, for in-state, out-of-state and minority students,” Parker said. “We identified key faculty members, as well as students and alumni, who could reach out to potential students and tell them what their experiences were like and how LSU helped them to become successful. That has become a key part of our recruiting process.”

“LSU expressed a lot of interest in trying to get me to attend... I was given VIP treatment and I was very impressed with the Manship School of Mass Communication’s facilities and staff. When all the offers were on the table, LSU’s was the best financial offer. I actually felt like the university was investing in my future.” -- Steven Wolf, LSU freshman.

While the average ACT score of LSU freshmen has increased steadily over the past several years, the 2008 freshman class shows an even more positive trend – large increases in the number of students enrolled who scored highest on the ACT. When compared with 2007, there was:

“Part of LSU’s goal in recruiting is to admit a diverse group of top students who represent numerous states, countries and backgrounds,” Martin said. “We want to do more in the area of diversity.”

University officials believe that diversity provides all LSU students with a more well-rounded college experience, as they get to meet and know students who hail from different backgrounds. The 2008 freshman class represents:

Michael Martin“The 2008 freshman class at LSU exemplifies our efforts. The class shows continued improvements in ACT scores and large increases in African-American and non-resident students. But, while we are moving in the right direction, we still have more work to do.” -- Chancellor Michael Martin.

Among out-of-state students, the largest increases were among students from Georgia, Tennessee and Florida, showing that students from states with their own top-tier universities are choosing to attend LSU. There were also increases in the number of students from Texas, Arkansas, Alabama and Mississippi.

Among local students, there was an 11.4 percent increase in the number of students enrolled at LSU who hail from the Greater Baton Rouge/Southeast Louisiana area; evidence of a trend that Louisiana’s top students, along with those from other states and countries, are selecting LSU as their college choice.

“I would like to see LSU grow its enrollment, but I want us to do it the right way,” Martin said. “We want the best quality students from around the state, the nation and the world. This may take a little time, but we are on the right track.”

Among the very best of the freshman class is Steven Wolf, a native of South Africa who grew up in the Chicago area. Actively recruited by a number of top colleges and universities around the nation, Wolf chose to attend LSU for its atmosphere, its facilities, the financial package the university offered him and the way in which he was recruited by LSU. He plans to major in mass communication.

“LSU expressed a lot of interest in trying to get me to attend,” Wolf said. “I decided to visit in January. I was given VIP treatment and I was very impressed with the Manship School of Mass Communication’s facilities and staff. When all the offers were on the table, LSU’s was the best financial offer. I actually felt like the university was investing in my future. The Honors College and Chancellor’s Future Leaders in Research program were also very appealing.”

“In terms of recruiting, our faculty was a tremendous asset for us, for in-state, out-of-state and minority students. We identified key faculty members, as well as students and alumni, who could reach out to potential students and tell them what their experiences were like and how LSU helped them to become successful.” -- Mary Parker, Executive Director, Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Student Aid.

Much of the success in obtaining such an outstanding freshman class goes to LSU’s admissions and student aid staff, McCoy said. He credits Parker and her staff for finding innovative ways to recruit students and for creating financial packages that made attending LSU possible for many.

Parker said that for nonresident students, LSU “took recruiting to them.” The university sent staff to other states to visit with potential students and encourage them to come to campus to have a look at LSU. “Once they come to campus for a tour, we can make a connection with the students and get them to come to LSU,” she said.

And since paying for college is often uppermost in the minds of students and their parents, Parker and her staff decided to work directly with LSU’s individual colleges to combine resources and offer top students scholarships and other financial incentives that made LSU an attractive option for many students.

“This year, we reached out to the colleges and decided to leverage our resources and utilize our money more effectively,” Parker said. “We developed a system that combines all the scholarships and financial aid that a student can receive and then we sent one massive award letter to students that included federal, state and institutional dollars. This helps students get a read on what their education is going to cost. With the state of the economy right now, it’s more important than ever to let students know that LSU is affordable.”

Parker said awards such as TOPS and Pelican Promise, along with university scholarships, allow many students the opportunity to attend Louisiana’s flagship university, often without ever taking out loans. She said her office also walks potential students through the process of obtaining state and federal aid with one-on-one service. “We’re about making sure that we’ve met a student’s needs so he or she can be successful at LSU.”

“This year, due to our desire to increase overall enrollment, we were able to accept out-of-state students without denying qualified Louisianians, and that’s the best of all worlds,” McCoy said.

One of this fall’s top freshmen is Matthew Levy, a 2008 Presidential Scholar who hails from the New Orleans area. Levy had considered a number of Ivy League institutions, but ended up choosing to attend LSU for both academic and financial reasons. “I have known for quite some time that I am interested in veterinary medicine, and LSU has an outstanding reputation for its pre-veterinary, animal sciences and DVM programs,” Levy said. “I no longer felt that I would be attending the ‘same old LSU.’”

LSU’s efforts to obtain America’s top students do not end with recruiting and admitting them. The university is also creating two new comprehensive programs designed to help retain and graduate students. The First-Year Experience is a new department that will help freshman succeed both academically and socially during their first year at LSU. And the Comprehensive Academic Tracking System, or CATS, will help students stay on track to graduate from LSU in four years. More information about both of these new endeavors will be available soon.

“This year’s freshman class is proof that LSU’s stature has grown academically as well as athletically, and we are looking forward to a bright season this year. Geaux Tigers!” McCoy said.

Kristine Calongne | Director | LSU Office of Public Affairs
Fall 2008


  LSU Homepage
   Louisiana State University
   Baton Rouge, LA 70803
   Internet 2 University Member

LSU A - Z | Directory | Search | Contact LSU | Home

Send Comments or Questions to webmaster@lsu.edu
Copyright © 2006. All Rights Reserved. Official Web Page of Louisiana State University.

LSU is committed to excellence at every level, offering a challenging academic and research environment
in one of the most unique cultural settings in the nation. Visit www.lsu.edu/flagship to chart LSU’s path to national prominence.