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Monday, March 8, 2021

Enrollment numbers on the rise

*CORRECTION: The graph printed depicted that Pierce had a zero students enrolled during the spring 2018 semester, however the correct number was 17,529.

If you have seen a Pierce College ad on your social media feed this winter, it wasn’t an accident.

From Jan.10 to Feb. 4 of this year, several departments at Pierce ran boosted social media posts about registering for open classes for spring semester.  

This was a beta test aimed to increase enrollment numbers in multiple departments.

In that time, the classes advertised saw an increase of 106 percent in number of students enrolled, according to Dean of Academic Affairs Mary Anne Gavarra-Oh.

Gavarra-Oh added that out of a set of 300 classes with low enrollment, below the point where the class would be canceled for lack of students, 50 were chosen from various departments.

“We can’t yet say there’s a true correlative effect between the posts and enrollment,” said Public Relations Manager Doreen Clay. “It was an impressive beta test, but we need to continue testing to find out if it’s really the way we want to go.”

Clay also said that the classes chosen were a mix of academic and arts related departments, including but not limited to: art, English, dance, journalism, health finance, music, Spanish, and theater.

“What these boosted posts do is, for a fee, they will make the post appear in the feeds of people who have interests in the areas you specify in the boost,” Michael Gend, the chairman of the performing arts department explained.  

“I come up with keywords for theater ads that include words like ‘acting’ or ‘theater’. I even use names of other colleges that might have similar programs to ours,” Gend said.

Gend said he created motion graphics posts for some classes and observed a definite improvement in enrollment.

“Motion graphics attract the eyes more,” Gend said. “I took classes to learn how to make effective posts, and then had to learn how to make motion graphics from video and still images.”

Gend said it was a lot of work to put together, which might require a dedicated person or persons other than teachers to handle on a regular basis.

Clay said hiring a social media manager would be beneficial, but requires funding.

“It’s a matter of resources and having the money to hire new people,” Clay said

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