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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Admissions decides to remove Guilford from Colleges that Change Lives

Last year the decision was made that Guilford could no longer participate in three of the four Colleges That Change Lives (CTCL) recruitment tours.

According to Randy Doss, Vice-President for Enrollment and Campus Life, the primary reason is financial.

“When you choose to be a part of the program, there are five programs you need to attend, and you are required to do all five,” Doss said. “Some aren’t good markets and you still have to go to them. Even if Raleigh is a good market, you still have to ask ‘Is Raleigh worth Memphis?’ Is Atlanta worth Birmingham? Well, we don’t get any applications from Birmingham.”

Guilford is able to select which regional tour they will participate in, but once they are committed to a tour, they are required to tour in all of the cities that are selected by CTCL from that region. The reason for this rule is due to shared costs for each tour and promotion of the tours by region that list all of the colleges attending.

According to Marty O’Connell, the Executive Director of CTCL, each regional tour is advertised with a list of colleges that will have representatives available, and “it would be very disorganized and ineffective for the families who come to the tour if some of the colleges advertised were not present.”

Last spring O’Connell met with Doss to convince him to reconsider this decision.

“I wanted to find out what CTCL might be able to do to enable Guilford to travel in spite of budget constraints,” O’Connell said. “I shared the advantages of being a part of the tour and the benefits other colleges are getting because of the face-to-face contact and how it changed their enrollment and enabled them to reach the kind of students that are great fits for their admission.”

Last year Guilford only participated in the northeastern tour, but was not present at the August and September tours on the West coast, in the Midwest and the South.

“I’m trying to be a good steward of the college’s resources, and sometimes we have to make really hard decisions” Doss said. “We have chosen to continue to participate in CTCL’s in cities where we have a better-than-average chance of enrolling students.”

Doss said that “Guilford has no intention of permanently dropping out of CTCL tours. We will look at each and every tour to see if fits into our recruitment plan, budget and timing.” However, according to Senior Associate Advisor of Admission Susan Bagley, plans for tours in 2008 or future tours have not been made.

After the families’ responses to Guilford’s absence at the August southern tour, which included Houston, Austin, Atlanta, Raleigh, Memphis, St. Louis and Tulsa, O’Connell called Doss to let him know that this was a missed opportunity.

“Families were disappointed that they were not able to speak with a Guilford representative. I told them that it did not mean that Guilford is not interested in them but that every college has to make budget decisions,” O’Connell said. “I faced the same situation in all tours, but it was magnified in the south since Guilford attracted more students since these cities were closer to Greensboro.”

“When we started doing these tours, we gave up much of the traditional travel that we had been doing to invest in the CTCL tours,” said Bagley, who has been the Guilford representative at most of the CTCL tours for 10 years. “But then we fell back into traditional kinds of travel.”


According to O’Connell, each tour costs an average of $2000 for each college in order to share the cost of the programs, in addition to their own travel expenses like hotel and flight costs.

“Anyone who knows about airfare knows that adds up quick,” Doss said. “And when we go on the tour, they don’t have the representatives stay in budget hotels. The program is run in $200-a-night places.”

However, O’Connell said that by staying at a cheaper hotel you are not necessarily saving money, because the hotel prices are linked to the prices of renting the ballrooms and meeting rooms.

“When you negotiate, you get better rates on reserving spaces if you also reserve a certain number of rooms in that same hotel,” O’Connell said.

Bagley said that expensive hotels are necessary at times to secure the space needed to accommodate growing audiences.

“We’re somewhat limited because our audiences have become so large,” Bagley said. “We need meeting space for 500 people, and must book the 40 sleeping rooms to book the meeting room.”

Even though Bagley and O’Connell realize that the tour is costly, they believe that it should be a priority because CTCL has become a prime source of recruitment for the CTCL colleges.

“The Financial rationale of many colleges who value the tour is that if they enroll one full paid student it more than covers the total costs of the tours,” O’Connell said. “Colleges are enrolling many students which they might not attract without the benefit of the individual contact these programs provide.”

According to O’Connell, over the past 10 years there have been colleges with tight budgets that have added tours because of the great results, such as Millsap, Lynchburg and Birmingham Southern.

Nancy Sinex, Director of Admissions at Earlham College (a Quaker college in Richmond, Ind.) has found the tour to be essential in Earlham’s recruitment efforts.

“By Guilford’s absence during the tour programs, the college misses the opportunity to make personal contact with new prospective students and with students who may have previously been in touch with Guilford to obtain information,” Sinex said.

Sinex said that Earlham has never doubted the great results of their investment in the tour.

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