By Hayden Kenez
More Ontario students than ever are interested in Ryerson, and the school is ramping up its recruitment efforts to attract more.
In fall 2011, Ryerson had the most undergraduate applications of any school in Ontario. This is due, at least in part, to the Department of Undergraduate Recruitment and Admissions’ (URA) various outreach campaigns on the provincial, national and international stages.
Applications to Ryerson have increased by 4,735, according to the Ontario University Application Centre (OUAC) – a jump of about 12 per cent.
“This year’s numbers … are almost at the point where they’re stunning,” said Ryerson President Sheldon Levy. “They’re really off the chart.” Part of the student liason team’s work includes international trips to foreign high schools, an area in which Levy stresses the school’s ap- proach is “not aggressive.”
“Every program at Ryerson has limits,” Levy said. “So if you bring in a lot more international students, it must follow that you must say no to [more national students].” It’s a delicate balance for the liason team to reach: providing prospective students with accessible and accurate information to assist them in choosing a school, and attracting students that will benefit Ryerson.
“We have one of the best outreach programs in the country,” said Charmaine Hack, executive director of URA, who oversees much of the outreach work. Her team visits over 800 high schools. “This large, collective effort creates a great presence;
we’re now seeing students in droves.” The liaison team’s campaigns offer potential students a chance to experience Ryerson and become familiar with programs, staff and the campus through social media, visits to university fairs and seminars.
Social media has become one of the top priorities for the URA, according to Susan Vercruysse, associate director of recruitment, communications and client services.
“We engage in all social media,” says Vercruysse. “We want to offer potential students the most accessible and most comfortable means of communication.” The URA is taking advantage of the power of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to better market Ryerson’s facilities and programs. An iPad app, designed by a Ryerson Digital Media Zone startup, Phosphorus Media, was also recently released.
The app is designed to give students information on various programs and faculties and Samantha Read, a liaison officer, says it has been particularly helpful.
“It’s an opportunity to share a lot of the cool things that are happening on campus,” says Read. “I was using it on the road, using it in a lot of presentations. We have had a great reception.” The school’s efforts to revitalize its campus, including the recent acquisition of Maple Leaf Gardens the new Image Arts Building and the current construction of a the Student Learning Centre at Yonge and Gould streets also have helped boost Ryerson’s rapport with aspiring students, says Hack.
“It takes a whole community to spread the good word to schools,” explains Hack. “We like to think we are the able distributors of the message, and we send it as far and as wide as we can