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Shepherd recruitment goes high-tech

April 24, 2011|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com
  • Brian Grant, a nursing student and member of the Shepherd University Student Ambassador Association, recently helped show the university's Board of Governors the new admissions iPad application system.
By Richard F. Belisle/Staff Writer

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — Prospective students considering Shepherd University used to thumb through traditional recruitment catalogs.

From now on, they can let their fingers do the walking through iPads and iPhones for an interactive, virtual look at what campus life would be like.

Brian Grant, a senior, enrolled as a Shepherd freshman four years ago the old-fashioned way.

“My mom found out about Shepherd in a catalog. She didn’t have an iPad app or an iPhone,” said Grant, a nursing student and member of the Student Ambassador Association.

Grant and fellow association member Ana Manzano, a junior, along with Randall Friend, last week gave the Shepherd University Board of Governors a first look at the university’s new admissions iPad application system that sends recruitment catalogs the way of the buggy whip.

“Students will be able to experience a classroom lecture and on-campus living in a unique and exciting way through video and touch,” said Grant, who graduates next month. “They can share with their friends what they learn about Shepherd on YouTube, Facebook, Flickr or Tweet.”

Friend, director of admissions, said Shepherd is believed to be a pioneer in the new technology. Its program should be available for release in June, pending approval from the Apple app store, he said.

“Students live in 30-second videos and 140 characters today,” he said. “They live on YouTube and Twitter.”

He pulled out his iPhone to show how he can connect to the new system with its keyboard, its keys so small one wonders how adult-size fingers can work it.

“This generation is used to it and this system will provide a way to experience Shepherd in the same way they experience their world,” Friend said.

He said nearly 60 percent of Shepherd students come from West Virginia. Most of the rest are from Maryland and Virginia, although the university has students from 40 states and 16 countries, he said.

“Now we can expand our reach, expose more students to what Shepherd has to offer,” Friend said.

Anyone with a computer or Internet connection can log onto it, he said.

“There are millions of downloads every day on the App Store,” Grant said. “This will get the word out in a way that it’s never been done before. It will make Shepherd available to more people. Now there’s an app for everything. I even have one on how to tie a tie.”

The system has been in the planning stages since the spring of 2010. It was developed for Shepherd by Creosote Affects of Emmitsburg, Md., a small strategic marketing firm that focuses on higher education. The company designed “Shepherd. unexpected,” the university’s current recruitment catalog, which has been used since 2005. The app system builds on the format in the catalog.

Shepherd’s current enrollment is 4,234.

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