TCU Admissions looks to marketing to increase diversity

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    TCU senior admission staff looks to increase the university’s racial diversity by hosting an annual high school conference, offering scholarships and utilizing various marketing tactics.

    Although racial diversity has more than doubled since 2000, only 20 percent of the student body identifies as belonging to a racial minority group.

    This percentage has remained stagnant over the past three years, according to the Office of Institutional Research

    TCU hosts the annual one-day Minority Student Leadership ConferenceWednesday. According to Darron Turner, the assistant vice chancellor for student affairs, this is a way to promote TCU to high school students. 

    “Once we get students on campus, they get attached,” said Turner.

    By inviting prospective students to campus for the conference, Student Affairs said they hope to show them how they will become a part of the TCU family.

    While Student Affairs said they target high schools with large minority enrollment, they encourage many current students reach out their former high schools.

    “The best seller of your program is always your students,” said Turner.

    The conference, for current high school sophomores and juniors, features a tour of campus and workshops led by current students.

    Another way that TCU targets these schools, specifically high-risk schools, is through the University Scholars program, said Ray Brown, dean of admission. 

    “University Scholars is one of the jewels in this University’s crown,” said Brown.

    This program, founded in 1999, encourages students from eleven participating high schools to apply to TCU.

    Brown said TCU continues to search for new ways to increase racial diversity. Brown compares increasing diversity to the Works Project Administration from FDR’s New Deal in the post-Great Depression era. Brown said TCU has developed a similar philosophy in means of trying any ideas to increase diversity.

    “We started then, with that sort of New Deal mentality of ‘you have an idea for attracting students of color? Wonderful, I don’t care what it is, lets do it,’” said Brown.

    In addition to hosting events and offering scholarships, Liz Rainwater, the director of admission marketing and communication, said pamphlets are a key marketing tool. She said these serve as both an honest way to communicate the percentages of racial diversity that make up TCU but also as a way to reach out to parents.

    “You don’t want to put all these students of color in a brochure, and then have a student of color look at it and say ‘oh wow, there’s a lot of students who look like me at TCU,’ and then they show up and it’s not like that at all,” said Rainwater.

    Brown said that many of the students applying to college in Texas are first-generation americans and/or first-generation college attenders. First-generation americans are the children of american immigrants and first-generation college students are the children of parents who did not attend college.

    Rainwater explains how brochures specifically help attract these applicants who often might not see the emails and other information.

    “When it comes to first generation students, those parents, they haven’t been to college on their own or at all, so they are really in the dark,” said Rainwater.