Vice President for Enrollment Management Arlene Wesley Cash spoke with The Syllabus, the higher education blog of the Greensboro News & Record, about why the percentage of North Carolina students at Guilford College is growing.
At Guilford, the percentage of traditional-age students from North Carolina grew from about 37 percent in fall 2005 to 56 percent a decade later. Almost 60 percent of this year’s traditional-age, first-year students are from North Carolina.
“Quite honestly, it just makes sense to go where the students are. For us, that happens to be right in our back yard,” Arlene told The Syllabus for an Oct. 25 post, “Attracting N.C. students to N.C. schools.” The number of high school graduates in North Carolina is growing, unlike many nearby states where graduation numbers have leveled off.
“We have admissions recruiters from colleges and universities in our contiguous states and beyond setting up offices and spending weeks visiting our high schools, courting our counselors and taking the best of our students out-of-state with them, some never to return again!
“Looking at demographics showing where there will be some growth in the high school student population in the next five or so years, North Carolina sits alone as a growth state in the middle of several where there will be drops. Certainly we love having students from other states and countries enrolled here, and we spend a great deal of time recruiting out-of-state, but we also want to let our own know that we are here for them.
“There is such diversity in N.C., a strong international population, students who are of Asian or African descent and Latinx, refugees and students who are undocumented; a student from Asheville can room with one from Raleigh and both will learn something about religion, culture, food, and politics that they may have never known. Our focus on service, our intentionality on providing students with a global experience and our strong sense of community helps even the most local student feel they are not just in their backyard. It is actually harder to recruit locally because of just that. Students want to go away to school.
“North Carolina has given so much to Guilford. We endeavor to give back by making the vast resources of our college available to as many North Carolinians as possible. As you can tell, we think we have something pretty special going on here and we feel it is of value not just to North Carolina, but to the world where Guilford grads are making an extraordinary impact in their professions, within their communities and on our environment.”