Randi Arsenault has been named assistant vice president of admissions and financial aid and dean of admissions at Colby, effective July 1.
A member of the Class of 2009, Arsenault began her career at VOX Global, a strategic communications agency based in Washington, D.C. She returned to Colby in 2010 and was named director of outreach and recruitment in 2015. In this role, Arsenault oversaw the design and implementation of a variety of new communications initiatives aimed at expanding and diversifying Colby’s applicant pool and enhancing the College’s yield efforts for admitted students.
Arsenault completed the Yale School of Management’s Women’s Leadership Program and received her master’s of business administration from Thomas College in 2019. In the years since, she has served as assistant vice president of admissions and financial aid, working closely with Vice President of Enrollment and Communications Matt Proto to develop innovative, access-focused enrollment strategies and implementing new project management and analytics systems to better track and assess the efficacy of various admissions and financial aid initiatives. Arsenault has also led efforts to enhance Colby’s holistic review processes, develop creative new recruitment initiatives, and launch a comprehensive early college preparation program for Maine middle school students. These efforts have contributed to an unprecedented increase in applications and yield and have positioned Colby as one of the most sought-after liberal arts colleges in the nation.
“Randi’s commitment to excellence, strategic vision, and meticulous execution have been extraordinary,” said Proto. “Every year our goal is to attract and enroll the most talented and diverse group of students in the College’s history. And the admissions team has realized this goal in each of the past five years in large part due to Randi’s leadership.”
In recent years Colby has seen a more than 200-percent increase in applications (from 5,148 to 15,857), a nearly 350-percent increase in applications from students of color, and a nearly 240-percent increase in the number of applications from students who would be the first in their family to go to college. Selectivity has also increased from nearly 30 percent to just 10 percent.
In addition to an increase in the size of Colby’s applicant pool, there have been significant changes to the student population. From the Class of 2018 to the Class of 2024, median SAT scores increased from 1345 to 1450, while the ACT median score increased from 30 to 32. Seventy-four percent of the Class of 2024 graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school class, compared to 61 percent for the Class of 2018. Students receiving Pell grants increased from 9 percent of the first-year class to 14 percent. All while the first-year class size grew from 467 to 566 students.
“The change in our admissions outreach and recruitment efforts has made a profound impact on the College,” said President David A. Greene. “Our ability to effectively communicate about the distinctive elements of a Colby education and our unwavering commitment to providing an extraordinary student experience has made a real difference.”
Expanding college access and developing pathways to Colby for students from all backgrounds is personal for Arsenault. As a first-generation college student from Western Maine, she saw her own life trajectory change when she enrolled at the College, where she majored in government and played varsity softball for the Mules.
“So many alumni, including Randi, have told me about the impact of our financial aid programs on their own experiences,” said President Greene. “The Colby experience can be life-changing for many people, and we want to be able to provide more students from all backgrounds with these incredible opportunities.”
In 2018 Colby announced a move to test-optional admissions and has continuously increased its commitment to financial aid during Arsenault’s tenure. Last year The Chronicle of Higher Education recognized Colby’s financial aid policies as the fourth most generous for the neediest students in the country. Through these policies, families earning less than $65,000 with typical assets can expect a parent or guardian contribution of $0 to attend Colby. And, through the Fair Shot Fund, families earning up to $150,000 with typical assets contribute no more than $15,000.