Sustained growth through comprehensive enrollment strategy

By: Alan D. LaFave, D.M.A.
Date: Apr. 8th, 2019
Greetings from Valley City State University!

I’m very proud to have joined the wonderful team here at VCSU where student welfare and success, both in and out of the classroom, are top priorities. Our focus on these priorities, coupled with quality programs, students, faculty, and staff, have placed us on a steady growth track that continues this year.

Our 2018 fall enrollment at VCSU was 1,547 students, an all-time record! How does this happen? I can assure you it is not by accident, but rather very intentional. Students have many choices and opportunities in pursuing higher education, so it is incumbent upon us to help identify our niche and clearly communicate with prospective students their opportunities for success here.

The overall enrollment strategy is part of the strategic plan to grow the university to meet the needs of North Dakota and beyond. This goal includes strategies for marketing, strategic student recruitment, retention and persistence, and program development to increase opportunities for growth.

It starts with quality. Delivering and providing top-quality programs, courses, and co-curricular opportunities attract and retain students. As quality increases, quantity typically follows suit. Just as retention is a multi-faceted, campus-wide effort, so is recruiting. The work of our Enrollment Services Office, led by Charlene Stenson, is never done. Identifying and reaching out to student prospects, aligning them with potential areas of study, encouraging an on-campus visit, arranging appointments for them with faculty and coaches, providing informative and engaging campus tours, and helping them envision themselves as members of the VCSU and Valley City communities are important elements of our admissions efforts, all of which help students and families make their decisions when choosing a university.

Strategic enrollment planning continues to be a focus of the President’s Cabinet and the entire campus community. Peter Smithhisler, vice president for student affairs, and an enrollment management team from across the university regularly monitor our progress toward enrollment goals throughout the academic year, and at this time of the year, that becomes almost a daily task. This intentional effort—assisted by faculty and staff in all areas of campus—plays a crucial role in our growth and retention efforts.

Valley City State University wants to be the university of choice for students today, tomorrow and beyond. I believe the success of this university depends on all of us working together, and I think our motto “We All Row” does a great job of recognizing the need for a collective effort.

Go Vikings!