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UH Mānoa Sees Significant Increase In Freshmen From Hawaiʻi High Schools

Four students near Shidler

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has seen a 12-percent increase in freshmen admitted from Hawaiʻi high schools in the fall 2016 semester, after three years of decline. New initiatives by the UH Mānoa Office of Admissions are being credited for the significant increase in applicants and in a number of other categories.

“We are proud that in just one year, we are executing and working toward our enrollment goals,” said Lori Ideta, UH Mānoa interim vice chancellor for students. “We are leveraging our collective strengths to better support and assist our next generation of students.”

The Office of Admissions partnered with more Hawaiʻi high school counselors in scheduling college application days during the month of October, increasing visits to schools by 50 percent.

“These events allow us to support our local students in the college application process, which can be daunting for any high school senior,” said Ryan Yamaguchi, associate director of admissions.

Three recently launched programs focus on assisting local students through the application process and introducing them to the Mānoa campus.

  • Explore Mānoa: Application Day—prospective students and their families come to campus in November and meet faculty and current students, learn about UH Mānoa’s wide variety of programs, go on campus tours, are introduced to the application process and learn about ways to finance college.
  • Scholar-to-Scholar Day—A half-day event where current scholarship recipients were paired with new awardees to share their experiences from a scholarship recipient perspective at Mānoa.
  • Mānoa Scholars Awards Brunch—Newly awarded scholarship awardees, along with their families, were invited to an awards brunch where each student was recognized for their scholastic achievement.

“Personalized contact with each of our local high school students is a priority,” said Jan Taniguchi, associate director of admissions. “Creating accessible events that offer relevant content and information in both fall and spring semesters allows us to better partner with our local students and their families.”

The university is providing current local high school seniors more reasons to select UH Mānoa when they are considering colleges. Incoming freshman for fall 2017 will be eligible for the Mānoa Academic Merit Scholarship, an automatic, merit based, $2,000 scholarship (per year) for four years of undergraduate study for first-time degree seeking students who meet the criteria. These types of incentives are critical considering that 85 percent of the fall 2016 applicants said that grants and scholarships offered influence their decision on which institution to attend.

Enrollment success across a wide spectrum

UH Mānoa enrollment is up in a number of categories:

  • Freshmen of Native Hawaiian ancestry increased by 29 percent after trending downward for the last four years
  • Freshmen of Filipino ancestry rose by eight percent, the highest increase in three years
  • Freshmen overall increased by 3.6 percent compared to fall 2015 (2015 was up by 2.8 percent compared to 2014)
  • New student enrollment, undergraduate and graduate, is up by 1.8 percent
  • Graduate student enrollment increased 9.35 percent

“This was a good year for UH Mānoa and is a direct result of combined efforts across campus,” said Roxie M. Shabazz, assistant vice chancellor for enrollment management and director of admissions. “We are at the beginning of a strategic journey to recruit a vibrant and prepared student body, and we have already made important improvements that prospective students and their families will notice, and ultimately experience.”

Branding an experience

The Office of Enrollment Management, comprised of the Office of Admissions, Financial Aid Services and the Office of the Registrar, rebranded its visual identity, utilizing dynamic imagery, hand-drawn graphical elements and typography. This rebranding carries the theme Make Mānoa Yours, highlighting signature experiences of actual UH Mānoa students.

“A sense of place and an authentic voice are two main elements of this campaign,” said Jennel Sesoko, admissions relations manager. “The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa is a beautiful and unique campus, rich in history. Through this campaign, we are sharing with students the one-of-a-kind academic experiences found no place else in the world.”

Strengthening the digital footprint

Beyond the aesthetics and refreshed look, the university also launched a redesign of the admissions website, offering a user-friendly experience, adaptable and intuitive on any device—desktop, tablet and mobile. A new online tuition deposit payment option provided a technological advancement, improving the process in which a student confirms their acceptance offer.

Through multiple social media channels, UH Mānoa has effectively reached both prospective and accepted students. Within social media posts, exciting, relevant and interest-sparking content speaks to both the prospective and newly accepted student.

For more information, please visit the UH Mānoa admissions website.

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