So often students enrolled at Illinois State credit their decision to attend the University to family members or friends, a former teacher or coach, or graduates who recommended ISU as a school to consider.

They see the student’s potential, and they know the benefit of the Redbird experience. All that’s missing is connecting the prospective student with campus. That step is now much easier to accomplish, thanks to a new “Refer a Redbird” form on the Office of Admissions website.

The page, found at, allows individuals to add the name of a prospective student to the Admissions Office’s mailing list. The student will then begin receiving regular communication from Admissions while in the process of making their higher education plans.

Director of Admissions Jeff Mavros, M.S. ’06, sees the potential for this reference page to help the University’s recruitment efforts remain strong. ISU is a top choice for students, and the University has set record-breaking freshman enrollments in recent years. The 2018 freshman class totals 3,689.

Looking ahead, however, recruitment challenges will escalate because the pool of eligible incoming freshmen will be shrinking. Alumni and others recommending students can help combat the problem of outmigration—currently nearly half of all Illinois high school graduates leave the state to pursue their degree elsewhere.

The key to changing this pattern is to capture the attention of high school graduates as they are being pursued by schools across the country. According to Mavros, one of the best ways to do that is by rallying alumni to share their Redbird story and gain their help in connecting high school or transfer students to the University.

“We have to get on the radar of prospective students. That is the biggest issue, finding a way for students to at least give Illinois State consideration,” Mavros said. He is confident students will be impressed by what they learn about life as a Redbird, which will expand the pool of those who apply.