Putting the Paw-sonalized Touch on College Admission

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A fat envelope or an anxious refresh on a webpage are the most common ways students find out about their acceptance to college.

But what if this life-changing news came in the form of a visit from a friendly English bulldog?

That’s the strategy for a few lucky high school seniors accepted at Butler University (IN).

Called “The Big Dawgs Tour,” Butler’s mascot, Butler Blue III also known as Trip, and his handler Michael Kaltenmark surprise 40 to 100 admitted students at their homes each year.

Kaltenbach gets a list of admitted students in various regions from the admission office and sets up the visit with the student’s family to ensure he or she will be home, The Indianapolis Star reported.  

The duo tries to go before acceptance letters are mailed out to add to the element of surprise, but sometimes students have already heard from Butler before they arrive.

In those cases, Trip has an even more important role to play.

“In those instances, we say ‘Congrats. Here’s our dog, and we really want you to come in the fall,'” Kaltenmark told the Star. “He’s sort of a hard face to say ‘no’ to.”

Kaltenmark said students who get visited by Trip are three to four times more likely to choose Butler compared to students who are admitted but don’t get the personal visit.

This kind of paw-sonalized touch is especially important in today’s climate.

NACAC’s 2017 State of College Admission report found that the average selectivity rate—percentage of applicants who are offered admission—at four-year colleges and universities in the United States was 66.1 percent for Fall 2015. However, the average yield rate was 35.1 percent, down from 36.2 percent the previous year.  

Ashley Dobson is NACAC’s communications manager for content and social media. You can reach her at adobson@nacacnet.org.

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