Admissions offices at Baldwin Wallace University organized a scholarship that promotes community-involvement in local organizations in order to increase first-year admissions.
These scholarships, or Community-Based Awards, are designed to partner with Northeast Ohio organizations like the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Esperanza, Boys and Girls Clubs, and Youth Opportunities Unlimited.
The admissions offices rolled out these awards Fall 2019, to encourage soon-to-be college students to consider a future at BW given their guaranteed service-earned scholarship.
With 32% of incoming BW students in 2018 involved with community service or volunteering, and 28% in 2017, rewarding community engagement is the right step for incentivizing BW as a viable option, said Scott Schulz, vice president for enrollment management.
“It’s thinking about our mission and what kind of students fit BW,” said Schulz. “We know each year we run statistics about our incoming class and we know it’s a huge percentage that engages in volunteer and service activities.”
Awarding students that form connections with organizations that teach leadership, communication, and analytical skills push the boundary of education by getting people excited about college beyond the academics but the culture and the opportunity.
Community-Based Awards hopefully make the college search less overwhelming by creating earlier relationships and connections within the community and stressing the importance of making students more marketable or a “package deal,” said Joyce Cendroski, director of first-year recruitment and admission operations.
Depending on which scholarship new students qualify for, merit or community-based, they will receive the higher of the two.
“BW is opening up new pathways for students to not only be aware of BW as a destination but to improve the viability of that financially,” said Schulz.
Given the nature of Community-Based Awards, the hope is that having a mindset of serving others will put potential students in the right position to become involved and integrate within the regional community of Northeast Ohio.
“It’s an opportunity for us to strengthen our relationship with the greater community beyond Berea and really show a commitment to students, not only how important education is, but how affordable potentially this can be at a private institution,” said Cendroski.
These awards embrace the value of students that help local service-oriented organizations in Northeast Ohio that align with the BW mission statement, while also putting BW on the radar earlier on in high school for locals.
“It’s our home, it’s our backyard, it’s our commitment to those who live here,” said Cendroski. “I think it’s most important to serve those students who are giving back, who are here, who grew up here and hopefully will stay here and pass it on once they graduate because they feel a sense of commitment and connection with the community.”
Starting out with these groups, admissions are able to gauge the success and potential of the Community-Based Awards in order to consider future service-based organizations.
“This was kind of our inaugural group of five, but depending on what kind of activity we see it could certainly make a lot of sense to add some additional partners as the program begins to mature, “ said Schulz.
Future promotion of Community-Based Awards will be followed by press events with Esperanza in November, Boys and Girls Club in December, and a board meeting with the Girl Scouts either this month or next.
It may take time for these awards to take hold but with the help of admissions counselors, press events, social media, and the BW website, publicity is growing steadily, said Schulz.