News October 2021 Perspective Online

Office of Enrollment Management: Nixing “Summer Melt”

Welcome to Our Incoming Classes of Fall 2021

By the Rev. Dr. Margot Perez-Greene
Associate Dean of Enrollment Management

Join me in welcoming the 55 new master’s students enrolled in the Dallas and Houston-Galveston degree programs! We are especially thankful to have them with us after what was a challenging recruiting season.

As with many other institutions of higher learning, recruiting for Perkins School of Theology’s 2021-2022 school year was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Although we met our goal – 55 new master’s students – that goal had been reset, due to the significantly diminished opportunities for fall and spring recruitment related to continued interruptions caused by the pandemic.

Sixty-one percent of the incoming students are enrolled in our Master of Divinity degree program, which remains our program of choice. Sixty-eight percent of our incoming class are affiliated with the United Methodist denomination. The average age of our new class is 37, and there are more women (57%) than men represented (43%). In fact, of the 16 new students in the Houston-Galveston Hybrid Extension program, only one is male!

Many institutions, including seminaries, experience what recruiting professionals call “summer melt” – the loss of students who are admitted, but over the course of the summer, decide not to follow through with their graduate education.  We took a proactive approach with our new “Summer Melt Program,” and had great success. Individual Zoom meetings welcomed every admitted student during the summer months. These Zoom meetings were brief, congratulatory, informational and hospitable. As a result, we did not lose one student due to the dreaded summer melt. Kudos Office of Enrollment Management (OEM)!

Fortunately, the SMU pandemic protocols allowed for us to gather in-person for Orientation that included a Welcome Reception for Dallas students at the Meadows Museum (see photo). This reception was sponsored by the Financial Literacy Program (funded by the Lilly Foundation, Inc.) and offered the perfect chance for new students, faculty and staff to mingle and greet one another. Christina Rhodes, Financial Aid Coordinator and Financial Literacy Coordinator, offered a welcome and brief introduction to the Financial Literacy program events planned for this fall. Orientation was one of the best ever (according to student evaluations!)  I wish to give thanks and recognition to the OEM team who gave special attention to make this event the special program that it was.

Finally, our Executive Board members were asked to submit names of prospective students for this fall term. We are grateful for their response and wish to thank them for their continued support. As usual, thank you all for recommending prospective students to us, and we ask that you keep Perkins on your prayer list as we face another recruitment cycle already in place.


The Rev. Margot Perez-Greene, Ph.D.
Associate Dean of Enrollment Management