The library for perspective students: important numbers part 1
When I say (or write) the phrase college enrollment the first thing that comes to mind is admissions. Clearly though much more goes into a student’s decision to enroll in one college vs. another. This is true despite what type of school the student is considering; could be Harvard could be University of Phoenix. If in the recruiting process the student is told about all the great academic programs and support services that are offered it seems clear that the library can (and does) play a role in the enrollment process. So what does your library contribute?
When perspective students are brought into our library as part of their tour I think of it as a first impression. Everyone knows how critical those first few seconds are of a meeting. I can set the vibe of the library and give a (very) brief overview of our services. When I say brief I mention three to five services and that is all. Freshman, particularly those coming into a career college, are usually quickly overwhelmed by too much information. As a librarian I like giving too much information so pulling back here is critical. The rest of the meeting is just smiles and handshakes. That sets the stage for them though. It makes me and by extension the library just a little bit more approachable. If you aren’t part of the tour for your school I encourage you to start talking about becoming a stop with your admissions staff.
So does the library add real value to the perspective student to choose one college over another? The self-important part of myself would love to answer “yes” unequivocally. The reality is it depends on the student. Some freshmen come really hoping to get the most out of their education. Those students do find value in the library, no one needs to convince them. They would go to the public library if the school didn’t offer one. Many others though might not feel they need a library for the type of education they are coming to obtain. In those instances stopping by the library is just a formality. Even in those cases though the library can become a friendly place that might (from the students perspective) offer some place to collaborate with friends and peers.
I would love to know how many career college libraries out there are part of the admissions process. Are you talked about during the admission interview? Do you have a quick spot on the tour? Are you given the opportunity to shake hands with perspective students? Share you experiences!