University of Dayton Application Increase is Six Times National Average: Comprehensive Rebrand Prepares University for Perfect Demographic Storm

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In 2008 the University of Dayton (UD), Ohio's largest private university, experienced a 37 percent increase in undergraduate applications, a mark six times higher than the national average of six percent as reported by the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

We're trying to get everyone to remember one thing: UD is a top-ten, top-tier Catholic university. We are stating boldly and clearly who we are

    Applications were hovering around 8,000 in previous years but spiked to 11,224 in 2008, the most in the university's history. Additionally, average applicant SAT scores rose as predicted by the implementation of increased application requirements. This impressive swell is the result of a comprehensive marketing effort on the part of UD.

According to the 2007 State of College Admission report, the number of high school graduates will peak at 3.3 million in 2008-2009 with a dramatic downturn in student population as early as 2010. This drop in population is converging with additional factors such as lower college-going rates among students and increasing tuitions, creating higher education's "Perfect Demographic Storm."

Recognizing that this trend would lead to fewer applications for schools nationwide, UD moved forward with a strategic rebrand to prepare for the decline. Under the direction of University President Dr. Daniel J. Curran, UD reinforced their brand with a distinct and consistent look, feel, and messaging that expressed the benefits of a Marianist education. Premium undergraduate recruitment materials and tactics were developed to clearly define and communicate their Marianist Educational Philosophy to educate students for a career while helping them develop into intelligent, aware, and involved global citizens.

"We're trying to get everyone to remember one thing: UD is a top-ten, top-tier Catholic university. We are stating boldly and clearly who we are," said Sundar Kumarasamy, Vice President of Enrollment Management.

The response to this focused communication was impressive application growth. Incoming class size will remain the same however, allowing UD to be more selective during the application process. As the university accepts students of a higher caliber, the school's academic reputation is also elevated.

"Upholding a distinguished academic reputation is imperative as we approach the brink of the 'Perfect Demographic Storm,'" said Kumarasamy. "As our academic reputation increases it eliminates the need to compromise on the quality of students even if there is an overall decrease in applicants."

Building upon the measured success of enrollment management, the university plans to extend the new brand across their graduate study programs and alumni communications beginning in the summer of 2008.

About University of Dayton

Founded in 1850, the University of Dayton (UD) is one of the nation's ten largest Catholic universities and Ohio's largest private university, with an enrollment of more than 10,000 students, including more than 6,900 full-time undergraduates. UD is the alma mater of more than 100,000 alumni. The University of Dayton continues to be ranked among the 10 best Catholic national universities and is a top-tier national university according to "America's Best Colleges" from U.S. News and World Report. UD is also "A Best College" as named by The Princeton Review in the 2008 edition of "The Best 368 Colleges."

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Michelle Prescott
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