Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL
A small, private school on a crowded I-95 South Florida corridor peppered with colleges needed to connect with more best-fit students.
While a well-maintained campus with many outdoor spaces to enjoy Florida’s climate (albeit a compact footprint), Lynn didn’t have the abundance of big, new, “bright and shiny” amenity-infused buildings. Lynn’s strength is its global/international student presence and a highly-connected community where faculty, coaches, staff and students engage regularly on a robust, interpersonal level. We heard over and over that “It’s all about community.” As part of the discovery stage of our visit consult, we realized that at Lynn, it truly all "goes down in the dining hall”—the community comes together there and the energy is lively and loud. It’s not just about eating, it’s about hanging out.
Our solution was to recast the campus visit around what we themed “Lunch at Lynn”— with the morning visit ending with lunch and the afternoon visit starting with it. Faculty were matched and invited and graduate assistants helped facilitate the logistics. Dining hall staff were educated on the importance of the campus visit and their critical role in it. Students and their parents were greeted, provided complimentary meal passes, given tours of serving areas, and then seated at reserved tables and specific seats that provided the "theater" of a busy collegiate dining hall. They could see the diverse students and faculty, staff, and coaches could have lunch with the family or simply stop by and chat, answer questions, have a conversation and connect. Students that are right for Lynn want this type of dynamic as part of their college education.
The result? Lynn has experienced record enrollment years four years in a row and has increased retention by 7%. The campus visit has hosted record numbers of visitors and has been featured in higher education publications. While we’d like to take credit for all the success, in totality it has been our campus visit consulting along with other enrollment strategies and retention initiatives, like taking their dining hall 24/7, new facilities, and hosting the last 2012 presidential debate on campus that has contributed to Lynn’s success. But as Gareth Fowles, VP for Enrollment Management says, “The budget we allocate for our campus visit and hosting families for lunch is some of the best recruitment money we spend!”