YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Nearly twice as many students as usual have applied to enter Youngstown State University in the fall.
On Friday, high school students from all around the area were on campus to compete in the annual miniature bridge building competition. University officials said events like this are helping to draw more students to the university.
The students design and build balsawood bridges as part of the engineering program.
“To design, to make it durable and sturdy, to carry loads. Although it is a small scale, it puts them in that mindset,” YSU School of Engineering Technology Director Carol Lamb said.
The idea behind these events is twofold: Get students interested in science fields and get them interested in YSU.
“It gets them acclimated to faculty members who work these events, who help out. They get to meet them and see them and talk to them,” Lamb said. “And we do see them come back. We often have them say ‘oh, I talked to you at Crash Day, and you are the reason I came back. So that is encouraging and we like that.”
The university launched a new recruiting strategy this year called “Pete’s Pride.” It enlists YSU alumni to write letters, make phone calls and man booths at various events on campus to talk about why YSU is a good choice for them.
So far, the extra work is paying off. Both applicants and the number of students accepted into classes are up. This year, 5,800 students have applied. Last year, that number was 2,500.
“We have been working extremely hard to get students interested. And we have gotten a really high quality of applicant. So we will see if we can get them to make Youngstown State their final destination,” YSU President Jim Tressel said.
He said the university must now focus on improving student completion and retention rates.
“We have got to create scholarship opportunities. We have got to create student worker opportunities. Because if students have the chance to be able to afford to continue, and they will work hard, we have got to put things in place so they can do that and we need to improve in that area,” Tressel said.