Recruiter guides students in the right direction: CEU

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Posted Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 12:00am

Not much has changed about the College of Eastern Utah since Terry Johnson attended over a decade ago. "Which is good," he said, "because I loved it."

Johnson not only graduated as CEU valedictorian in '87, but was also valedictorian a year later at Southern Utah University where he earned his bachelor's degree in business administration and marketing.

Following graduation, he lived in Palm Springs, Calif., working for Pfizer-Roerig Pharmaceutical Company.

He returned to Price where he has co-owned Johnson Heating with his brother for nearly 15 years, before joining CEU this fall. "But not to worry, they are still in business."

As assisstant director of admissions and scholarships, Johnson has just completed an eight-week tour to high schools throughout Utah. Every student has different concerns associated with post-secondary education. Most are concerned with costs and scholarships. Many are curious about housing, while several consider the social aspect. He must personalize each meeting and learn what each student needs.

Most students know which colleges they are interested in and who they want to talk to before the recruiting officers step through the door. This is one of the biggest challenges Johnson faces. He is striving "to get these student thinking about CEU before" he gets there. Several students he has spoken with did not know CEU existed.

One solution Johnson has to this problem: major advertising. The catch 22 is in order to acquire this level of advertisement, he could use a budget increase; however, budget increases are based on student enrollment.

High school counselors are another major resource Johnson utilizes. He is developing close relationships, keeping in constant contact with counselors so they offer favorable impressions of CEU to their students.

Often students only meet with Johnson after speaking with representatives of larger institutions. "I like that. I like changing their perceptions." Schools that seem to have students with the highest interest level in CEU are Emery and Carbon naturally, but also Richfield, Granite, Bear River, Wasatch and Payson high schools.

Following this tour, he hopes to meet with CEU department advisors to discuss concerns they may have and what Johnson could possibly do to aid them. "Two heads are better than one, and 10 heads are better than two."

It seems like "Todd Olsen [director of admissions and scholarships] is spread so thin sometimes" with such a heavy workload. Johnson can hopefully take some of this load and maintain a full-time emphasis and personalized approach by continuing to not only contact high school students but high school counselors as well.

"He cares about the students very much," says Devin Keller an admissions intern, who sees his fervor for bringing students to CEU daily. Johnson admits he does stand out in the halls sometimes trying to drag students in, "but you can only drag them so hard.

"We've got a great school here." Johnson is enthusiastic and anxious to educate students about the many programs and tools CEU has to offer.

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