Laurier should use the ‘safe choice’ to its advantage

Last week, it was announced that Wilfrid Laurier University saw a major increase in students applying to the school, as well as students that placed Laurier first on their OUAC preference of choices. The number of those applying to Laurier rose around 11.3 per cent over last year, and the number of students that said Laurier was their first choice was up 25 per cent over last year, placing the university first in the province for the respective statistic.

It’s a good sign for Laurier to see not only a rise in applications — which, if it translates to enrolment, could be a positive turn. But what stands out is the amount of people that this year put Laurier as their number one choice. Why is this?

To some, Laurier may be seen as a safe alternative to its counterparts in Ontario. Laurier is well-known for its emphasis on the student experience. It prides itself on what it can offer outside of the classroom and while the programs may not be elite, they offer tangible opportunities for a student just out of high school. Publicity such as being recognized as a top school for volunteerism and the recent renaming of the business school can work in favour of the Laurier’s reputation to first-year students.

It could be that Laurier offers that “real university” experience where students can get a good education without having cut throat demands like business counterparts at University of Toronto or Schulich, and experience other opportunities such as co-op, exchange, volunteerism and a middle-sized city with a community vibe. Put simply, it’s the safe alternative to its competitors without jeopardizing the university experience.

Laurier shouldn’t be afraid to market itself as a safe choice. It’s common knowledge Laurier doesn’t have the “elite” academics, but it should pride itself on targeting a specific audience, and use this to its advantage.

The numbers show people still look positively on Laurier, so the school should use it.

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