Southeast’s New Admissions Counselor Connects with Students Online, at Local Schools

Lenell HahnCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Oct. 24, 2003 — Lenell O’Connell joined the admissions team at Southeast Missouri State University in July and serves local area high schools, including Cape Central, Notre Dame and Jackson, as well as students who contact Southeast via the Web.

Once a month, O’Connell visits the three local schools.  Students register to meet with her and to discuss their options and goals for the future.  O’Connell provides them with undergraduate applications for admission, scholarship information and brochures with information about the University.  She also represents Southeast at area college fairs.

A Southeast alumna, O’Connell believes she can convey her love of Southeast to the students she meets.

“I had such a wonderful college experience at Southeast,” she said.  “It is my hope that prospective students can see how much I enjoyed it here and how much this school has to offer.”

Not only did O’Connell attend Southeast, she also is a native of Southeast Missouri.  She sees this as an asset to understanding local students.

“I can understand the students in this area, because I grew up right here in Southeast Missouri.  I had the same choices to make.  I want to show them why Southeast should be their first choice.  There are a lot of opportunities here.”

Often, O’Connell coordinates special events during her high school visits and recently planned a day of “College Success Presentations.”  General information was presented to students on how to succeed wherever they attend college.  Topics included good study skills, the importance of getting involved on campus, and others.  These events are tailored for the targeted age-group.  Sophomores may be presented with broad information on deciding what to do after graduation, while seniors may be given instruction on meeting deadlines for applications and filing for financial aid.

Having majored in business while in college, O’Connell uses her knowledge to aid the Harrison College of Business in recruiting new students.  She has attended the LEAP symposium in St. Louis, a college fair specifically targeting students interested in accounting, and she is helping to coordinate an open house at Southeast, which will provide prospective students a close look at the business department and college life.

In addition to her local recruitment responsibilities, O’Connell is Southeast’s first admissions Web counselor, handling all Internet-based correspondence. With the increased popularity of the Internet, O’Connell says that more and more students have discovered Southeast while online.

As a Web counselor, O’Connell also is responsible for e-mail recruitment.  She sends e-mails to prospective students, letting them know of upcoming events, deadlines, and other important dates.  Because of a partnership between Southeast and the U.S. Achievement Academy (USAA), students who are chosen as USAA scholars are sent an e-mail message congratulating them and informing them of scholarships they may be eligible for at Southeast.  O’Connell also responds to those who request more information.

O’Connell maintains the Web site for the Office of Admissions, ensuring it is up-to-date and pertinent to the needs of prospective students.  Since the majority of out-of-state students contact Southeast through the Admissions Web site or by e-mail, O’Connell is responsible for this demographic as well.

O’Connell cautioned that although students using the Internet as a tool to gather information on colleges and universities has increased, it has in no way diminished Southeast’s commitment to personal interaction.

“Students rely heavily on our Web site to get instant access to information, but we still provide a personal touch in recruitment,” she said.  “We have not cut back on high school visits or college fairs.  We want our students to know that we care and are here to help.  Our Web site is becoming a tool for students to apply online, request a campus visit online, gain access to up-to-date information and much more,” she explained.

O’Connell is currently completing her thesis for a master’s degree in business administration from Southeast. During her graduate studies, she was president of Omicron Delta Kappa, an honor society, and president and secretary of the MBA Association. She also was a graduate student member of the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce.

Graduating from Southeast in August 2001 with a bachelor of science degree in business administration, O’Connell was a charter member of Omicron Delta Kappa and a member of the honor society Phi Kappa Phi.  She was a member of the marketing club Delta Epsilon Chi, and participated in a national competition in which she placed first for marketing management.

O’Connell transferred to Southeast after earning an associate of arts degree from Three Rivers Community College (TRCC) in Poplar Bluff, Mo.  During her two years there, she served as a TRCC ambassador, giving campus tours and helping in the admissions office.

In 1997, O’Connell graduated from Kennett High School.  She was involved in Pep Club, National Honor Society, and the marketing club DECA.  She also volunteered at the Humane Society for two years.

Currently, O’Connell is involved with the Cape Jaycees, a service organization for people between the ages of 21 and 39.  Its biggest project is the annual Toybox drive, which collects toys for needy children and then delivers them through volunteer Santas.

During her free time, O’Connell enjoys being on the go, attending a variety of community events, concerts and other activities.  She also enjoys shopping and spending time with her family and friends.

During the short time she has been a part of the Admissions team, O’Connell has gained a strong enthusiasm and love for her job.

“I appreciate being around the students.  They are so full of energy.  I love to have students visit the campus and come away with a wonderful experience,” she said.  “Many high school students are unsure of what to do after they graduate.  I enjoy feeling like I have helped them.”

O’Connell’s upcoming travel schedule is as follows:

  • 11/1    Show Me Day, Southeast Missouri State University
  • 11/5    Cape Central High School
  • 11/11  Jackson High School
  • 11/13  Notre Dame High School
  • 12/5    Harrison College of Business Open House, Southeast

If you would like to contact O’Connell for more information about Southeast or her upcoming school visits and events, she can be reached at (573) 651-6012 or e-mail loconnell@semo.edu.  You can visit the Southeast Admissions Web site at http://www.semo.edu/admissions/index.htm.