Personalizing Online Program Recruitment at UNK

Posted: July 31, 2018 8:00:00 AM CDT

stacey schwarz photoWhen choosing an online program, students ensure they’ll gain the expertise needed for the career they want—but it’s not all they consider before applying. Prospective online students today also want a personalized, streamlined, and supportive experience from their university—from the time they first reach out for information until their graduation. They want personal connections and a sense of community—even if they can’t set foot on campus.

At the University of Nebraska at Kearney, the professional who helps students start and succeed in their online programs is Stacey Schwarz, Online Program Recruitment Specialist at eCampus. In her position, she prioritizes giving one-on-one attention to online students who need specific information or direction for the next step in their education.

A UNK graduate herself, Schwarz earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism: Public Relations with a Marketing/Management minor. We asked how her background and position give her the unique opportunity to help students succeed in online programs at UNK.

What inspired you to choose your career path?

My career has always involved people and customer service. I am a communicator, a helper, and a planner. I had never imagined utilizing my skills in the restaurant business before my position at UNK, but opportunities arose that led to a very rewarding and challenging career for the past few years. As a UNK graduate and former student worker, I knew I wanted to be back on campus someday and in some capacity. My position as an Online Program Recruitment Specialist is the perfect fit for me. The job allows me to assist current students in UNK’s online programs to obtain their degrees while also marketing online programs and the university to prospective students.

Describe your typical day as an Online Program Recruitment Specialist.

No day is the same for me, which is part of what I enjoy most about my position. I may be working with prospective students in the morning, evaluating transcripts and assisting with their enrollment process. In the afternoon, I may be helping enrolled students with degree audits or figuring out what courses they need next semester to be on the right track for graduation. Whether I’m working with prospective or current students, the position is very rewarding because I am helping that person achieve their goals. This is a unique position, as I get to work with students from the time they show interest in UNK all the way to graduation, providing assistance and advising them even though they are strictly online students and cannot travel to campus.

What's the most challenging part of what you do?

The online world presents a large amount of competition. We have to communicate with our prospective students very quickly and effectively after they express interest in an online program, before they choose another university. In such a competitive market, we work very hard to turn these leads into admitted and enrolled students—staying competitive by being attentive, informative, helpful, and convincing, but without being pushy.

How do you relate to your audience of prospective students?

I am a UNK graduate myself in the degree fields that I am currently marketing and advising. It was a great place for me to jump in, as I am very passionate about this university and these programs. Several students that I work with have careers and families and are interested in obtaining their degree online while juggling those things. As a mom and a wife, I can relate to that as well and want to help them find the best way possible to obtain their degree at UNK.

What's the most interesting thing in your office?

I have several photos of my family in my office. I am very family focused and driven, so seeing their faces throughout the day is a good reminder to me why I do what I am doing.

View a complete list of UNK online programs, or contact us for assistance at 1.800.865.6388 or ecampus@unk.edu.

By: Rosanna Vail

Category: eCampus, General

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