Recruitment and the MOST Program

April 21, 2016

John Dolan

A message from the President's Office with Vice President for Enrollment Management John Dolan

This week, Vice President for Enrollment Management John Dolan and I will share some thoughts on recruitment of students of color, admission office staffing, and the MOST program, all topics covered in the sixth demand shared with the College last fall.

Recruiting Consistent with Simmons College Values

Simmons College benefits immeasurably from a wide variety of ideas, knowledge, values, and contributions from different cultures and backgrounds. Bringing together students with many perspectives and varied experiences enriches the academic and co-curricular life of everyone at Simmons.

We believe recruiting a diverse student body is essential to our long-term success and sustainability. All of our schools have a global, diverse constituency and we wish to see this grow and flourish. By earning a reputation for valuing differences, we will be able to attract talented students who know Simmons appreciates the backgrounds, perceptions, knowledge, and skills they bring to our learning community.

Undergraduate Recruitment

At present, approximately 25% of our undergraduate student population self-identify as a student of color. It is our aim that, with a firm commitment to strong, relevant initiatives and programming, we will continue to increase representation of students of color in the years ahead. Here are two important undergraduate recruitment initiatives that we will build on to help us attract a greater number of students of color:

  1. Simmons partners with Community Based Organizations (CBOs) in order to reach students from various backgrounds. We visited 22 CBOs across the country during the last recruitment cycle. Some of the CBOs we partner with are Boston-based, such as Bottom Line and Summer Search; in New York City, we partner with Venture Scholars. We also participate in national outreach, working with the National Hispanic Institute. CBOs give us access to a talented, motivated group of students who we want to inspire to consider Simmons. We plan to identify more CBOs in Greater Boston and beyond in order to expand our ability to directly communicate with diverse, student-age populations who would benefit from a Simmons education. If you know of a CBO we should be considering, please contact our Director of Undergraduate Admission, Ellen Johnson, and tell her about it.
  2. Simmons awards the Boston Scholarship to nine talented, academically prepared students annually, including our largest cohort joining us this fall. These are full-tuition scholarships granted to students who have attended a Boston public school. Students are selected for a Boston Scholarship based on their application for the scholarship, a nomination letter from a member of their school community, and an interview. We plan to increase the number of Boston Scholarships over the next few years.

Staffing the Enrollment Management Division

We recognize that our enrollment management team is not as diverse as we would like it to be. We are actively working to change this, while continually maintaining our focus on being a department that exemplifies the diversity and inclusion values and aspirations of Simmons.

The characteristics we look for when recruiting a new member of our department are the same values we believe belong to the College as a whole: commitment to inclusion, partnerships, and community. In our hiring process, we ensure that each staff member exemplifies these values and embraces the mission of diversity and inclusion for which Simmons stands.

The MOST Program

Each spring, students of color who have been admitted to Simmons for the fall semester are invited to campus to take part in the MOST program. In order to minimize the financial burden of visiting the College, we cover the travel costs for the student and one guest to attend this program. The MOST program enables admitted students of color to experience our on-campus culture, learn more about our programs, and to develop friendships that may carry over into the fall semester if they choose to attend Simmons. As a result of the sixth demand, we made some changes to the MOST program, including the addition of panels of current students and alumnae of color who will discuss their experiences and concerns in a real and candid manner.

We do everything we can to make MOST participants excited about coming to Simmons—we showcase the value of a Simmons education and the wonderful possibilities of being in Boston, a college-friendly, culturally rich city. Despite our best efforts, however, some of the MOST participants ultimately choose another college, which explains why an enrolled student of color may arrive in September and not see some of the people from the MOST program.

We are committed to offering an on-boarding experience for admitted students of color and to offer continued opportunities for them to connect with each other through both formal and informal programs and structures as they progress at Simmons. Some of these opportunities exist in our current environment and programming, but there is more work to be done to help forge these connections. This work is underway. We continue working to ensure that all of our admitted students feel welcomed when they arrive, and that they have an accurate understanding of the Simmons environment. We invite your ideas and perspective on how we can do this work better and more effectively.

We have made measurable progress related to the recruitment of students of color. Yet, we know we need to do more. We are absolutely committed to doing more—to dedicating all possible resources and energy toward increasing the diversity on our campus, and to making each and every student of color feel welcomed as part of the Simmons community.