Recruitment efforts huge undertaking for admissions

St. Edward’s University boasts 2,765 undergraduate students from Texas. These students represent 105 counties of the 254 that make up the Lone Star state in fall 2014, according to data from Institutional Research.

The data was based on students’ permanent address at the time of application. A total of 3,587 undergraduate students attend St. Edward’s.

Travis County has the highest number of students at the university with 759. Harris County is in a distant second with 300 students, and Fort Bend County is in third with 220.

When combined Travis, Harris and Fort Bend counties account for 46.3 percent of Texan students.

There are seven counties that have over 100 students attending St. Edward’s.

On the other side of the population scale, there are 35 counties that only have one student attending St. Edward’s. When all 35 students are combined they make up 1.3 percent of the Texan students.

One of those 35 students is senior Taylor Johnson; she is the only student from Angelina County in East Texas. She did not initially intend to go to St. Edward’s, but she said she fell in love with the campus when she visited.

“Most kids from my high school don’t go to college. If you look at the stats, it’s very, very few,” Johnson said. “Occasionally, I meet people from neighboring counties, but it’s few and far between.”

Another of those 35 students is sophomore Bianca Rosas, from Atascosa County. She is a biology and pre-med major and chose St. Edward’s because of its small size.

“I wanted to get a one-on-one connection with my professors and service is a really big part of my life…(St. Edward’s) holds service at a really high regard and because I went to a Holy Cross high school,” Rosas said.

Sophomore Roya Hagigholam is one of four students from Kerr County. Hagigholam is from Kerrvile, Texas, a city about an hour west of San Antonio on Interstate 10.

“When I was looking at colleges, I was really intimidated by something that was going to be big, but I still wanted to know the getting-out-of-a-small-town experience,” Hagigholam said. “That’s why I chose to look at Austin in the first place. UT was way too big and intimidating. I knew that I wanted to be a kinesiology major and that left me with going to Texas State or St. Edward’s.”

Despite obvious population differences, the University of Texas at Austin has students representing 227 counties. UT has a heavy concentration of students from Southeast Texas.

St. Edward’s student population, on the other hand, seems to have a lack of representation in Central and Northwest Texas, especially up into the panhandle. St. Edward’s has a heavy concentration of students in the area surrounding Travis County and south to Bexar County.

“We do a lot of on the ground recruiting throughout the state,” Dean of Admissions Tracy Manier said. “We spend the entire fall sending our team of about 11 freshmen recruiters out to a variety of areas in the state.”

These freshmen recruiters tend to focus on a region of the state. Less populous regions, like West Texas, will be assigned to one person. Populous regions will have multiple recruiters.

“We’d love to have as much geographic diversity as we can have, but what I would caution is when you look at the numbers is within Texas you have a lot of counties that have a very small population of college-going students,” Manier said.

Geographic diversity is one of Manier’s goals when shaping the freshman class. She believes it provides a richness of knowledge and diverse viewpoints.

The recruitment team visited 870 high schools last semester, including other states and countries; the bulk of high schools were in Texas, Mainer said.

“Texas is such a huge state that many areas really function much like an out-of-state area,” Manier said. “Just the vast geography and landmass of the state makes it difficult to have every part of the state represented.”