University recruiters play key role in enrollment growth

Southeastern fall enrollment reaches highest level in 40 years with 4,483 students


By Dan Hoke

Members of the Admissions and Recruitment Office are Tonya Tollett, Megan Cochran, Sheridan Burns, Sarah Hughes, Jeremy Rowland, and Alesha Birks.

University Communications, Contributing Writer

DURANT, Okla. – One of the most important and often overlooked jobs at a university is that of the recruiter. For prospective students and parents, the recruiter is likely their first direct contact with a school.

And first impressions can mean everything, according to Jeremy Rowland, director of admissions and recruitment at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

“Our goal is to ensure that the first interaction with a prospective student and/or parent is a positive interaction,’’ Rowland said, “whether it be via email, phone call, or campus visit. Southeastern has a lot to offer students, and it’s our job to make them aware of the opportunities that are available.’’

Those efforts appear to be working, as the University announced recently that with 4,483 students, fall enrollment has reached its highest level in 40 years.  Records also indicate this ranks among the highest-ever enrollment totals documented in the 109-year history of the institution.

This fall’s enrollment total (Headcount) represents an increase of 13.3 percent over Fall 2017.

In addition, the freshman class of 600 is the largest in six years, with significant increases locally in Bryan County and Grayson County (Texas) freshmen.

Rowland’s five-person staff, whose office is located on campus in the Welcome Center, is responsible for recruiting new freshmen, transfer, adult, international, and returning students to the University through events both on and off campus, including college fairs and high school visits. The office then evaluates submitted applications using the provided documentation in accordance with University policies and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education guidelines.

As director, Rowland oversees all areas of recruitment and admissions for new freshmen, transfers, and concurrent students. He also plans and executes recruitment events. A Durant High School graduate, he holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southeastern.

Other staff members in admissions and recruitment are:

  • Tonya Tollett, Assistant Director of Admissions

Tollett supervises the admissions process, the International student population, the office’s student workers, and assists with recruitment events. She is a graduate of Rattan High School and Southeastern and has 19 years of experience at the University.

  • Sheridan Burns, High School Recruiter / Admissions Counselor
  • Sarah Hughes, High School Recruiter / Admissions Counselor

Both Burns and Hughes are at the forefront of the recruiting effort, visiting high schools, college fairs, and planning recruiting events on and off campus.

Burns is a graduate of Ardmore High School and Southeastern. She recruits in western Oklahoma and north Texas.

Hughes, a Colbert High School and Southeastern graduate, recruits in eastern Oklahoma and north Texas.

  • Alesha Birks, International Immigration Advisor

In her duties, Birks is responsible for International admission and recruitment, organizing and coordinating events, and providing general support/services for international students. She is a graduate of Marietta High School and Southeastern.

  • Megan Cochran, Admissions Counselor & JRM (recruitment software) Coordinator

In her role, Cochran reviews files and processes applications, as well as overseeing the departmental budget. She is a graduate of Seminole High School and East Central University.

Among the recruiting events scheduled this fall are Transfer Day, October 2; SE Live! Open House for high school juniors and seniors, October 24; Texoma Area-Wide College Fair, Nov. 14; and STEM Visitation Day, December 1.

For more information about Southeastern and the admissions and recruitment services, go to

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