Editorial: University’s look needs tidied

It is concerning that the number of freshmen this year has decreased by 8 percent. While the slump in numbers may be a one-time drop, if it continues, the cumulative effect over several years could be serious.

According to the New York Times, colleges across the country suffered a two percent decline last year – about half a million students — which was the most significant decline since the 1990s.

Pennsylvania, across 14 public universities, took a 2.9 percent hit.

Pitt-Johnstown officials said they are unable to change the economy — which was cited as the potential cause of drop. They are trying more aggressive approaches to lure students, starting with improving the university’s print and online admission material.

The university’s acceptance rate has gone down to 90 percent. While still high, it may have been a factor to the enrollment decline that sits above the national average, as most universities had a rise in acceptance rates.

But perhaps more has to be done.

We can argue that upon a student’s decision to come to a particular university, the website is certainly the first impression he or she gets, serving as a major factor. The Pitt-Johnstown website, aside from being severely outdated, is not very appealing.

It was September of last year when news broke of a webmaster hiring and hopes for a website renovation. Since then, only the Pitt-Johnstown athletics page had received a new look.

We feel the university officials would have to become even more aggressive, as they say, with potential enrollment declines. While officials say that the university’s aspiring intentions are to set the image of being a leader in education, to accept quality students and cultivate them with the Pitt-Johnstown experience, they may be turning away more students than they are getting just because of a lackluster first impression.

Tidying up the university’s appearance could also play a bigger role in student recruiting than they thought.

The university officials should also not forget to propose more academic-centric achievements by graduates in their marketing efforts to prospective students, instead of focusing on just engaging fun student life factors.

And to not lose sight, but enhance and support the core mission of the university: to educate students.