A recent decline in enrollment at the University of Montana has led the admissions office and its staff to take a step back and look at alternative approaches when searching for prospective students and enrollees at UM. Sharon O’Hare with UM said there is a couple of things they’re looking to do as prospective students begin to apply for college:

"One of the things we've done in the last year is we've really ramped up communication with our prospective new students," O'Hare said. "We start that communication with them much earlier than we ever have before; As early as freshman or sophomore year in high school. The other thing we've done is we've increased the number of print material they receive, again starting as early as a sophomore in high school."

O’Hare said the university and the admissions office are trying out a more open and personal communicative route when approaching prospective students this upcoming enrollment period.

"All Montana high school students receive an email from their very own admissions guide and this is a real person," O'Hare said. "If they reply to the email, or give the person a phone call, they'll get a call back from their real recruiter. We think that's a significant change in the approach. We're really starting to see some positive responses from the students themselves. They appreciate being regarded themselves as a real person and not just a mass of juniors or seniors in high school."

O’Hare said UM is a comprehensive university as well as a “science powerhouse.” One thing UM tries to underscore with prospective students, O’Hare added, are the particular fields of academic excellence such as humanities, journalism, and liberal arts.