Jessica and George Swatek, parents of Julia Swatek ’17, are members of the Loyola Society Executive Council and welcomed incoming freshmen and their families to the Saint Joseph’s community at a reception at their New Jersey home this past summer.

Jessica and George Swatek, parents of Julia Swatek ’17, are members of the Loyola Society Executive Council and welcomed incoming freshmen and their families to the Saint Joseph’s community at a reception at their New Jersey home this past summer.

Alumni and Parents Help Recruit Students

Hawk Ambassadors and Loyola Society members support SJU enrollment

At any step in a Saint Joseph’s prospective new student’s journey, an alumnus or parent can make a difference.

Recruiting and enrolling students begins with ensuring that the right candidates consider Saint Joseph’s. The process continues as students apply, are admitted, pay their acceptance fees, attend orientation and ultimately enroll and begin classes.

Through each of those phases, alumni and parents welcome new families and help create experiences that reaffirm their decision to join the SJU community.

“Pursuing higher education is often a family decision — especially today because of the cost — so a parent whose child is having a great experience can speak to the value of a Saint Joseph’s education,” said Assistant Provost Maureen Mathis. “And our alumni who have fulfilling careers and are leading successful lives exemplify what happens after this first major step of choosing Saint Joseph’s. This includes our young alumni, who are exceptional ambassadors.”

Many Ways to Serve

Hawk Ambassadors and members of the Loyola Society Executive Council (LSEC) parents group support recruitment and retention at every decision point in the process. Last year, they served as SJU representatives at 52 local and regional high school college fairs. This year, Undergraduate Admissions hopes to reach 70 fairs.

Parents and alumni attend various campus admissions events, including open houses, campus experience days and admitted students days. For the second year, Saint Joseph’s is hosting combined alumni and admitted students programs to help influence commitments in Puerto Rico and three Mid-Atlantic locations.

Letters and phone calls from parents to prospective new parents are also helpful once students are admitted, particularly from January through May as students narrow their options. “A letter or phone call offers a personal touch, especially for those who live farther away,” said Hawk Ambassador Director Rose McGovern Bouchard ’06. “Sometimes callers contact those in their same region. I’ve even had parents who want to call prospective students from their son or daughter’s high school. Or athletes calling athletes…anything that is a connection, while still keeping the conversation casual. Alumni have also been a fantastic help with phone calls.”

One Family’s Story

Each year, from May 1 to move-in day in mid-August, the University can lose as many as 100 committed students who change their minds to attend other institutions, a phenomenon referred to in Admissions as “summer melt.” Saint Joseph’s Summer Send-Off receptions help keep students and their parents engaged.

Julia Swatek ’17, a student in the SJU/Thomas Jefferson physical therapy program, attended the incoming freshmen reception that Sandi and Tom Garry P’16 hosted in Hawthorne, N.J., in June 2013. “I received an invitation to a local gathering, where I met Admissions staff, along with students who had just finished their first year,” she said. “At the same time, my parents were meeting with others. It was definitely a great introduction to the community feeling of Saint Joseph’s before heading to campus.”

Over the next year, Julia’s parents, Jessica and George Swatek, became increasingly involved in supporting Saint Joseph’s recruitment efforts following their attendance at the President’s Leadership Breakfast over Family Weekend. They joined the LSEC, eventually serving on the Loyola Society President’s Board. They serve as membership chairs and make regular phone calls to welcome parents to the SJU community and to welcome new members to the LSEC.

This past June, the Swatek family hosted an incoming freshmen reception in their Wyckoff, N.J., home, where Julia Swatek talked about her experience at Saint Joseph’s. “This time, it was a great way to reflect on my year, while helping others with the transition from high school to college,” she said. “It was a full-circle experience to participate in welcoming my new fellow students to Saint Joseph’s.”

Help Now: Every Connection Counts

Whether you’d like to call or send letters to prospective families or participate in a broader way, you can help Saint Joseph’s make and keep connections for strong enrollment results.

– Valerie Asuncion