The Whelan Group’s Summer Focus Group Series

Scott Novak, Executive Vice President of the Whelan Group and Ross Clurman, Director of Marketing and Interactive Technology, will be conducting a series of focus groups around the country with high school students and college freshman this summer.

The focus groups will be designed to provide the staff at The Whelan Group with firsthand feedback about student trends, likes and dislikes and how they relate to our clients’ recruitment efforts.

Scott Novak had this to add:

“Staying true to our tagline [of] ‘Inspiration for a New Generation’ we are using the summer months as a time to coordinate focus groups around the country to enhance our knowledge of how to most effectively recruit students. We will be focusing on what types of communications they respond to [email, text, print, etc.], what web-based tools they use [Facebook, Twitter, etc.] and also testing current marketing materials to see which ones are well-received.”

“This feedback will certainly play a role in our development of effective marketing campaigns with current and future clients. Understanding this generation and hearing directly from them about what inspires them is our first priority.”

“We want to be a company that ‘listens’, not one that ‘tells’, and this series of focus groups will help us with everything from Search campaign coordination to viewbook development.”

The results of our focus groups will be used in preparing presentations for upcoming conferences and new client meetings.

Westminster College’s Record Enrollment

A surge in freshman enrollment at Westminster College has prompted officials to establish a wait list effective immediately.

While prospective freshman students can still submit applications at Westminster, those will now be awarded a place on a space-available basis. The freshman application pool at Westminster was informed of the wait list last week.

“In spite of this tough economy, Westminster is actually seeing a major increase in applications,” says George Wolf, Vice President and Dean of Enrollment Services.”Based on our current deposits, we expect our ninth straight year of record enrollment.”

Applications to Westminster are up 43% over last year. Deposits for freshman are expected to be 34% higher than last year.

Wolf stresses that the wait list only applies to new freshmen. Space is still available for transfer students and upper class students. The admissions staff is also ready to help new freshmen find ways to start at Westminster in January 2010.

Westminster College officials have implemented the freshman wait list to help ensure that all students enjoy the individual attention from professors and small classes that Westminster is known to provide.

“Westminster offers a very intensive freshman experience that our students find attractive,” says Wolf. “Students have the opportunity for a very unique suite style of living on The Quad and our year-long freshman seminar centering on topics of individual interest to them brings their research and writing skills to the high level they need to succeed at the college level.”

The Westminster freshman seminar also gives new students the one-on-one mentoring attention they need for personal growth and adjustment.

“A smooth transition from high school to college is critical in preparing students for future success and we at Westminster pride ourselves on giving new students the tools they need personally and professionally to have a successful college experience,” says Wolf.

Wolf also points to the great value students receive at Westminster as another reason prospective student applications have increased. Prospective students can attend a nationally ranked college at tuition cost that is approximately $3,000 less than many of the sister liberal arts colleges.

“Our sole mission at Westminster is to provide the best quality undergraduate education that students will find at any liberal arts college in the country,” says Westminster President Dr. George B. Forsythe. “To achieve that goal, we keep our enrollment at a level that maintains our close campus community.”

Westminster received a great deal of national attention this year when the first ever Forbes magazine rankings selected Westminster as the 39th Best College and University in America—the only Missouri school to be ranked in the Top Fifty.

“Obviously, our students enjoy being a part of the Westminster family,” says Wolf. “We have a very high retention rate. Currently, it stands at 85%. The continuing growth of Westminster is just another indication that we are providing a valuable educational opportunity at Westminster.”

Founded in 1851, Westminster is one of the Midwest’s best private liberal arts colleges, according to the rankings of U.S.News & World Report.

The Princeton Review lists Westminster as one of the “Best Midwestern Colleges” and ranked Westminster as the #4 best value private college or university in the nation.

Newsweek-Kaplan named it “One of the 372 Most Interesting Schools in America.”

Westminster has also been recognized as one of 240 Colleges of Distinction and CosmoGirl magazine named the school one of the Top 100 American Colleges for women.

This selective college for men and women is situated on an 86-acre residential campus with small class sizes taught by top-notch instructors.

Merger Yields New Higher Ed Clients

The Whelan Group has experienced tremendous growth this year, partly due to merging with Zoom Interactive Marketing.

Zoom Interactive Marketing adds personalized direct mail, email, and mobile marketing, online applications and interactive media to the existing creative, publication development and higher education recruiting services that The Whelan Group currently offers.

The efforts of the sales staff and the entire company have been exceptional, especially considering the economic downturn we are all facing.

President of Zoom IM, Brad Moore, added that “…in recent years, we have been fortunate enough to experience an expansion in our Search marketing and interactive solutions. I attribute it to our competitively priced products and services, and our history of outstanding customer service. We’re very excited to see what the future holds for The Whelan Group and Zoom Interactive Marketing as we build our reputation in higher education marketing as an industry leader.”

The addition of Zoom IM’s client list, including the four colleges below, has helped The Whelan Group build a family of over 80 clients!

Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, North Carolina

Cabrini College in Radnor, Pennsylvania

Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois

Reinhardt College in North Fulton and Waleska, Georgia