Nearly 2,500 students are currently enrolled as full-time undergraduate students at BJU, and out of all the departments on campus, only one has directly and personally interacted with every one of these students — the Admission office.
Gary Deedrick, the director of Admission, said the goal of the Admission office is to recruit, admit and enroll students. But it’s not just about the numbers, he said. “We want students who we feel will be a good fit for Bob Jones University,” Deedrick said.
The Admission office performs a variety of important tasks, such as creating recruitment strategies and recording potential students’ information for recruitment purposes. Other branches of the Admission office consist of admission counselors and student callers.
Deedrick said there are eight full-time staff counselors who are assigned different parts of the U.S. Each counselor is responsible for recruiting the 200 students from their geographical section that are most likely to come to BJU, whether through mailing information to them, calling them or emailing them.
Margaret Anderson, admission counselor for 14 states in the Northwest, said the role of an admission counselor is to serve as a middleman between potential students and the University, giving them someone to connect with and answer their questions. Anderson said counselors also give personal tours to interested students and travel to the area they are responsible for to visit schools and churches, which is also her favorite part of the job.
Anderson said counselors are responsible for students from their region during the recruitment and application process, up until the students arrive on campus, at which time the counselors hand them off to their academic advisers.
Deedrick said each admission counselor is also assigned two student callers who reach out to the students in their counselor’s respective region who are not part of the 200 most likely candidates.
Sarah Twigg, a student caller for North Carolina and Illinois, said the role of a student caller is to build relationships with prospective students by contacting students who express interest in BJU to give advice for college preparation and share the heart of BJU. Twigg said she enjoys dispelling myths prospective students believe about BJU and meeting new people through her job.
BJU President Steve Pettit also plays a large role in student recruitment. Deedrick said Pettit’s many connections to churches and pastors across the nation has helped to facilitate BJU’s recruitment campaign this year. He personally contacts 10 to 12 prospects each week and travels every weekend, preaching and recruiting. “He is very engaged in the recruitment process,” Deedrick said. “It is huge to have a president [contact students].”
Deedrick said BJU employs other forms of recruitment besides admission counselors and student callers. Chuck Kittrell, a 1982 BJU graduate and current BJU representative, travels year-round to present the University. Dr. Bruce McAllister, director of ministry relations, is working diligently on re-connecting with pastors. Three ministry teams travel to schools and churches each school year. A choral and various band groups go on fine arts tours each semester. The executive wing schedules Friendship Dinners across the country for alumni, prospective students and friends of BJU. And, finally, one of BJU’s chief recruitment tools is its website, which continues to increase in traffic.
Deedrick said the most moving day of the year for him is the day of opening exercises when all the new students proceed into the FMA. “We see in a tangible way what the fruit of our labor has been for the last year or two.”