High school seniors invited to party - and possibly get admitted - at St. Augustine's

jstancill@newsobserver.comJune 3, 2014 

— Calling all soon-to-be high school graduates looking for a fat envelope from a college admissions office: St. Augustine’s University is throwing you a party.

In a quest to enroll more students and reverse a financial slide, St. Aug’s will host a graduation celebration for high school seniors Thursday at 5 p.m. at the library on the historically black campus. There, the soda and popcorn will flow and raffle winners will go home with some Falcon swag.

St. Aug’s message is simple: We want you.

Students need only bring their high school transcript and ACT or SAT score for a lickety split admissions offer. No need to shell out a $50 application fee – it’s waived. The prospective students can also get a campus tour, talk to financial aid officials, even shake the hand of the university’s interim president, Everett Ward.

“We’re just trying to get that last push,” said Jorge Sousa, dean of enrollment management.

St. Aug’s is not the first university to streamline the application process in hopes of luring more students. Raleigh has been a popular market for colleges who set up on-site admissions outposts in hotel suites or other venues.

But for St. Aug’s this year, the process has taken on more urgency. Last week, the university announced staff cuts and furloughs to help balance its budget after several years of enrollment declines.

The goal is to enroll at least 250 first-year students in the fall; so far about 200 have committed, university officials say. Next week, admissions officers will travel to Washington, D.C., for an alumni-hosted picnic for prospective students.

The party in Raleigh is aimed primarily at students who have expressed interest in St. Augustine’s in the past, but it’s open to anyone, Sousa said. At this point in the year, students may have been turned down by their first-choice school and might be more willing to consider new options.

“By having an event like this, we can potentially bring in additional students who aren’t on our radar,” said Sousa, adding that he hopes to reassure those who are skeptical about the status of the university.

As Ward said last week in announcing the cuts, “Everything is on the table to save the university.”

So for students who show up Thursday with at least a 2.5 grade point average and acceptable test scores, the college admissions game can be about as quick as a Google search.

Stancill: 919-829-4559

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