New Kensington’s out-of-state recruiting targets Minnesota, Arizona and Maryland

From 10,000 lakes in the upper Midwest to the Sonora Desert in the southwest to the Chesapeake Bay on the eastern seaboard, Penn State New Kensington is expanding its recruiting base throughout the United States.

With five states already represented on campus, the Admissions Office is on a quest for a culturally diverse student population that stretches from sea to shining sea. Corrine Coulson, enrollment services specialist, is the face of the campus’ recruiting initiative. She returned recently from a two-week cross-country sojourn that encompassed visiting 14 high schools and participating in four college fairs in Minnesota and Arizona.

“Since this is the first year visiting these areas, we're really focusing on educating students, parents, guidance counselors and schools about the University and Penn State New Kensington,” said Coulson, who joined the Admissions staff in March.

In keeping with Chancellor Kevin Snider's recruiting initiatives, the campus’ student body has become more culturally diverse, according to Penn State’s annual snapshot count taken at the end of the sixth week of the fall semester. First-year international students increased the campus total to 17, up from six a year ago. They hail from China, India, Uganda, Tanzania, Pakistan, Qutar, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

Six states: Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia; have sent residents to study at New Kensington. Targeting additional out-of-state residents is the next step in the campus’ recruiting strategy. The decision to tap-in to the high school student pipelines of Minnesota and Arizona was based on data from the College Board, a nonprofit educational organization that serves the education community through research and advocacy.

“These states have a high percentage of students going to college out-of-state,” said Patty Brady, director of enrollment management at the campus. “In Minnesota it is 90 percent, in Arizona it is 67 percent and Maryland is 64 percent. We have already had students from Minnesota and Maryland attend Penn State New Kensington, so we wanted to go back to those states where we've already had some success.”

The quality of the campus’ academic programs is the major selling point for Brady’s staff. Penn State is recognized globally for its science and engineering programs, as well as its health care majors. New Kensington enjoys the same prestige for the nine bachelor’s degree programs and five associate degree programs that can be completed at the campus.

“Students from these states have indicated strong interest in the health professions, engineering, business, and biological sciences,” said Brady, who has headed the office for 13 years. “Penn State New Kensington is very strong in all of these programs.”

“Students can attend our campus for all four years, or they can do Penn State's ‘2+2’ plan which enables them to complete the first two years at New Kensington and then finish their degree at University Park,” added Coulson, who earned a bachelor's degree in communications media at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. “In a sense, students can create their own Penn State experience.”

In addition to Penn State programs offered at various campuses, New Kensington offers programs that are unique to the campus, such as biomedical engineering technology (BET). No other Penn State campus, including University Park, offers the BET associate degree. In fact, New Kensington’s BET program is one of only three accredited programs in the United States, and its student intensive care unit (ICU) is one of only two fully-equipped laboratories in the country.

Another draw for the campus is funding opportunities available for out-of-state students who are eligible for financial aid, including scholarships. This year, the New Kensington campus awarded a total of $ $376,000 in scholarship money to incoming freshmen. The campus has 50 scholarship endowments, annual gifts and program awards that funded 160 students this year with an average award of $2,300 per student.

Coulson’s odyssey concludes in November with a visit across the Mason-Dixon Line into Maryland. The Lower Burrell native will meet with high school students and parents in the cities of Annapolis, Edgewater, Millersville, Burtonsville and Silver Spring. Baltimore is the final destination as it hosts the National Association for College Admission Counseling, a major college fair.

“It is our hope that students and their families realize that they have an opportunity to be a part of Penn State and earn a degree that's respected around the world,” Coulson said.

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Last Updated October 30, 2013