UT football ranking impacts recruiting and enrollment tactics

UT football ranking impacts recruiting and enrollment tactics

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - The Toledo Rockets have continued to gain national attention with their success on the gridiron – a success that's helping recruit more than just fellow athletes.

The Rockets jumped up in the national football rankings (No. 19) for the third straight week, creating a buzz that the university's admissions office is taking advantage of.

"It's a buzz," said William Pierce, UT's director of enrollment for undergraduate admission. "When you have a team that's nationally ranked, you know, with that comes a conversation of students wanting to be a part of a winning organization."

After seeing a gradual decline in enrollment over the past three years—just under 20,782 in 2013 to 20,325 in fall 2015, Pierce says the success of the football team has helped put Toledo on the map for students nationwide and is a great ice-breaker for recruiters to talk about the school's academic success.

"Typically the conversation will start with, 'Oh I saw your football team.' And then that allows us to segway that conversation into, 'Well, did you know that UT has excellent academic programs?'" Pierce said.

Pierce says the school's homepage lists national rankings of its academic programs right below the football team's record, ranking and upcoming opponent. The school says following Toledo's first appearance on the national rankings, the school's site saw a 100 percent online traffic increase. Pierce adds that they've seen a continued growth in campus tours and information requests from prospective students as well.

The tactics of using athletic success as an "ice-breaker" is something UT's new president Sharon Gaber also recognizes and has talked with Pierce, recruiters and the rest of the admissions team about.

Although Pierce says it's too early to tell the exact number this increased exposure will lead to with enrollment, he says they'll keep using and having fun with it while it lasts.

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