50 Creative Ways Colleges Are Recruiting Students Today - (2023)

50 Creative Ways Colleges Are Recruiting Students Today - (1)For decades, schools have made college recruiting an art. From slick marketing packages to the ultimate campus visit, there are seemingly endless ways to entice new students to enroll. But these days, admissions staff are armed with a whole new set of tricks, thanks to technology developments, social media, and good old-fashioned ingenuity.

  • Rating systems:

    More schools are tracking data on prospective students, developing rating systems and devoting more or less time to each student based on the likelihood that they would enroll.

  • Interactive video game tours:

    At DePauw University, students can take a tour of the campus through an interactive video game.

  • Appearing to be more selective:

    Some colleges hope that exclusivity will breed desire, cutting out early acceptance programs and making the acceptance process just a little more cutthroat.

  • Going green:

    Green living and environmental technology is a big deal these days, and colleges have gotten on board, attracting students with green facilities, cafeterias, and even educational offerings.

  • Different protocol for different candidates:

    Schools are changing the way they deal with adult recruits, offering a more tailored recruiting experience for non-traditional students.

  • Special programs:

    Colleges who make a home for a certain type of student are bound to attract more, like the University of Pittsburg has done with its group for students with autism and Asperger’s.

  • Freebies:

    Would you choose a college based on getting a free iPad? That’s what the Illinois Institute of Technology was counting on when it announced that it would be giving free Apple iPads to all incoming undergraduate freshmen, and it worked.

  • Free tuition:

    A free iPad’s nice and all, but what about free tuition? It’s a reality at the University of New Haven’s business school, offering free tuition to a student with the next great entrepreneurial idea. iPads are also available as prizes, as well as gift cards to the bookstore.

  • Short films and viral videos:

    Alumni filmmakers and students often create viral videos or short films that share what’s great about their alma mater, bringing new students to campus.

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  • Student blogs:

    To build credibility among prospective students, MIT features 10 student blogs on its site.

  • Email follow-ups:

    Email is a major part of creative college recruiting today, with many colleges sending out email blasts and follow-up messages.

  • Salary reports:

    In recruiting mail-outs, Stanford is careful to highlight one of its best features: the great salary students will enjoy with a Stanford degree. The school included PayScale.com statistics that explain just how valuable a Stanford degree can be.

  • Groupon promotions:

    National Louis University recently made history as the first academic institution to offer a daily deal promotion on Groupon, sharing a three-credit course that could be applied to a graduate degree.

  • Courting valedictorians:

    Valedictorians are the Holy Grail of college recruitment, so many colleges offer the top scholarships. Often, schools will send out letters informing valedictorians of their available merit scholarship.

  • One-on-one connections:

    With social media, admissions officers are able to offer one-on-one connections with potential students, letting them know how important they are and that they should apply.

  • Podcasts:

    Allegheny College shares a series of podcasts featuring faculty members and undergraduates that prospective applicants to listen to and explore what the college has to offer.

  • Sponsored search results:

    Colleges want to make sure they’re in the results when students search for colleges online, so many of them have used sponsored search results including Google AdWords and Yahoo! Sponsored Search.

  • Overseas agents:

    Although it’s an illegal practice in the U.S., some colleges are able to send agents overseas to attract international students. These agents advertise and go to recruitment fairs in foreign countries, something that most colleges don’t have the resources to do without outside help.

  • Unique clubs and activities:

    Groups like the MIT Assassins Guild, University of Kentucky Rock-Paper-Scissors Club, and the Princeton Mime Company attract students with their unique offerings.

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  • Text marketing:

    Ads on radio, TV, and in theaters get students to connect with colleges using their cell phones, encouraging them to text their email address for more information.

  • Student-led photos:

    Schools used to just take photos of campus and put them on their website, but now, they’re using Instagram streams and tagging to encourage students to take the lead and share their own photos.

  • Amazing dorm rooms:

    Academics are just part of the equation when it comes to choosing a college: dorm rooms are a big deal, too. So many universities are beefing up their dorm amenities to attract students, with bathroom renovations, larger spaces, appliances, and new furniture.

  • Facebook forums:

    These days, college Facebook pages often turn into Q&A forums during admissions season, allowing students to ask questions about the school.

  • Live chat sessions:

    Students who are interested in a college can drop in and chat with admissions officers in live chats to learn more about the campus and admissions process.

  • YouTube applications:

    Tuft University recently allowed prospective students to create a YouTube video as a supplement to their application, and many have gotten thousands of hits on the site.

  • Social media date reminders:

    Admissions officers on social media keep their schools at the forefront of students’ minds by posting reminders, news, and application deadlines on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Tuition freezes:

    As the cost of higher education rises each year, schools that can offer a better deal are attracting a lot of attention. Some schools are even freezing tuition in the hopes of increasing enrollment.

  • Virtual college fairs:

    Some students simply don’t have time to visit with admissions representatives in person, so many colleges are offering virtual college fairs to make it easier and attract more students.

  • QR codes:

    Using QR codes, colleges are able to get students quickly connected with the recruitment information they want to share.

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  • Stronger student support:

    At Ashford University, the admissions staff has been slashed to better allow the school to support students. Instead, there will be a new department to work with prospective students to make sure they’re prepared for a university education.

  • Hosting Hangouts:

    Using Google+ Hangouts, colleges reach out to students by hosting video chats explaining the school, academics, and admissions.

  • Parent chats:

    Parents can be major decision makers in the admissions process, so some universities host video chats not just for students, but parents as well.

  • Student Facebook pages:

    At MIT, there’s a student-run Facebook page for accepted students, offering an authentic look into the school for prospective students.

  • Student ambassadors:

    Schools like CUNY use their students to reach out to recruits in area high schools, posting fliers and ads, and hosting recruiting sessions of their own.

  • Accelerated courses:

    In today’s instant gratification society, students want their degrees, like, yesterday, and with accelerated courses, colleges are able to make that happen, making classes longer, but terms shorter.

  • Good, old-fashioned phone calls:

    In today’s world of online interaction, some schools take an older, more personal approach: phone calls. It doesn’t work for every student, but some are impressed by the personal touch.

  • Incredible facilities:

    Some universities seem to be in a facilities arms race to attract the most students with bigger and better new buildings. They’re splurging on high-profile architects to create spaces that are sure to bring in new students.

  • Web history tracking:

    Some schools track the pages students visit on their site and customize their Web experience, giving them pages that are of post interest to them.

  • Skyping:

    Group video chats work well, but some schools are finding that one-on-one video conversations between counselors and students work well, too.

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  • Facebook contests:

    At Misericordia University in Pennsylvania, the school offered bookstore gift certificates to freshen who replaced their Facebook profile photos with the university logo.

  • Highlighting alumni on social media:

    Many colleges are calling attention to the fact that they have great alumni, and social media outlets are a great place to do it.

  • Free travel:

    Many Massachusetts colleges have made it a point to attract more diverse candidates to their campuses. During recruitment season, Amherst flies almost 200 potential students from around the country in to participate in “diversity open houses,” and offers then two round-trip plane tickets to use every year, making it easier for them to visit family back home.

  • Mobile websites:

    As more students use their phones to connect to the web, colleges are making sites that are mobile-ready, making it easy for students to browse what they have to offer.

  • Mobile apps:

    In addition to mobile sites, some schools have taken it a step further and created mobile apps that students can take on the go to explore their schools.

  • Webcasting:

    Webcasts and web conferences offer a large forum for prospective students to ask questions and share answers with the entire group.

  • Showcasing activities:

    Social media is a great place for colleges to share the campus lifestyle, including events and activities that potential students may enjoy.

  • Personalized websites:

    At schools like Case Western Reserve, students sign on to personalized portals. For example, students who express an interest in engineering will be greeted with news about engineering on campus and links to profiles of professors or other students in the field.

  • Incomplete application follow-ups:

    Instead of allowing incomplete applications to sit and rot, many schools are following up with these students to make sure they come back to complete the application.

  • Unique campus tours:

    Tour a campus by bike or boat, and you’ll get a whole new perspective and appreciation of what the school has to offer. At least, that’s what some colleges are hoping for as they introduce more unique campus tours to their potential students.

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  • Business partnerships:

    At the graduate level, schools are partnering with businesses to bring in new students for further education and growth in their schools.

  • FAQs

    How do you recruit students for college? ›

    5 best practices for recruiting students in higher ed
    1. Invest in university admissions software. Technology plays a huge role in the success of a student recruitment campaign. ...
    2. Run informative social media campaigns. ...
    3. Talk to current students. ...
    4. Make recruitment events memorable. ...
    5. Be consistent.

    How can a college attract more students? ›

    A few effective college recruitment strategies include:
    1. Offer free webinars. ...
    2. Provide ebooks and other downloads. ...
    3. Send newsletters. ...
    4. Create and share infographics. ...
    5. Make information helpful and student-focused. ...
    6. Use clear call to actions.

    How do clubs recruit students? ›

    6 Student Organization Recruitment Strategies to Find New Members
    1. Have Active Social Media Accounts. Your club's social media accounts need to be active. ...
    2. Offer Free Stuff When Possible. ...
    3. Do a Presentation During Class. ...
    4. Make Club Merchandise. ...
    5. Host a Virtual Event. ...
    6. Enlist Guest Speakers.
    17 Dec 2020

    How do college recruiters find students? ›

    Third-party recruiting services like NCSA (we have the largest network of student-athlete recruiting profiles) Recommendations from high school or club coaches. Emails and messages from recruits. Camps and showcases where they can see many potential recruits in one place.

    How do you increase student admission? ›

    9 ways to increase college admissions and enrolment
    1. Create situations for Prospects to react first. ...
    2. Create a story of your institution. ...
    3. Nurturing student interest. ...
    4. Create the hype in your graduates. ...
    5. Beat the response time through Automation. ...
    6. Active and flexible engagement strategy. ...
    7. Power your technology.
    10 Jan 2022

    How do you attract high quality students? ›

    Attracting the Right Students with Effective Recruitment...
    1. Make sure you are highlighting relevant academic and/or professional background and skills. ...
    2. Be clear about the direction and nature of the program. ...
    3. Look for individuals who show evidence of commitment. ...
    4. Emphasize support resources.
    29 Jun 2022

    How do you increase the number of enrollees? ›

    Small changes add up in big ways!
    1. Inbound Marketing: The Cornerstone of Any Plan to Increase School Enrollment. ...
    2. Mobile Devices Don't Just Disrupt Class — They Can Also Increase Enrollment. ...
    3. A School Enrollment Campaign is Only as Good as Its SEO. ...
    4. Register with Local Google: A Fast and Easy Way to Increase Enrollment.

    How social media attracts talent? ›

    6 Keys to Successfully Leverage Social Media to Attract Talent
    1. Narrow down your focus to a few social media platforms. ...
    2. Use social media to evaluate potential candidates. ...
    3. Share your story and culture on social media. ...
    4. Post job openings and career opportunities to social media platforms.
    26 Aug 2021

    What do college coaches look for on social media? ›

    Coaches rely on social media to get a better sense of an athlete's personality and interests. They know that most—if not all—recruits have at least one social media account. And they will search for it. If they see your profile is restricted, they will assume that you have something to hide.

    How do I recruit students online? ›

    They used that to determine the best practices and insights for establishing communication with prospective adult and professional students.
    1. Diversify your student recruitment channels. ...
    2. Set student recruitment goals. ...
    3. Meet them where they're at. ...
    4. Speak to your audience. ...
    5. Sell your real unique selling points.
    8 Oct 2019

    How do student organizations grow? ›

    How to Become a Thriving and Enduring Student Organization
    1. Establish your organization on campus. ...
    2. Establish a solid group of core members. ...
    3. Go above and beyond at your meetings.
    4. Establish a solid relationship with your faculty/staff advisor. ...
    5. Facilitate effective transitions amongst officers from year to year.
    30 Jul 2020

    What are the examples of student organizations? ›

    Types of Student Organizations
    • Academic. ...
    • Cultural. ...
    • Faith-Based. ...
    • National Honor Societies. ...
    • Political. ...
    • Sorority/Fraternity. ...
    • Service & Social Justice. ...
    • Special Interest.

    How do you recruit creatively? ›

    7 Creative Recruitment Ideas That Work
    1. Host “Hiring Happy Hours” ...
    2. Film Employee Testimonials. ...
    3. Include a Chatbot on Your Career's Page. ...
    4. Text Message Candidates. ...
    5. Match Top Candidates with a Peer. ...
    6. Conduct Shadow Interviews. ...
    7. Showcase Your Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

    How do you attract candidates in 2022? ›

    How to Attract Top Talent in 2022
    1. Feel valued.
    2. Feel a sense of belonging among caring and trusted colleagues.
    3. See the potential to grow.
    4. Have the flexibility to integrate work with their personal lives.
    5 Jan 2022

    What do college coaches use for recruiting? ›

    Recruiting questionnaires.

    Coaches send questionnaires to hundreds, if not thousands of underclassmen and upperclassmen. Questionnaires are used to gauge your interest in a program, so filling them out—and sending a follow-up email—is essential if you'd like to remain on their list of prospects.

    How do you know if you are being recruited? ›

    Four Ways to Tell If a Coach Is Recruiting You
    1. No contact: You're not on the coach's radar yet. ...
    2. Recruiting questionnaires or generic mail: You're in a large pool of recruits. ...
    3. Camp or showcase invites: You may be on the coach's list of recruits. ...
    4. Emails or social media DMs: You're likely on the coach's list of recruits.
    17 Aug 2022

    How do college scouts find you? ›

    College Coaches Find Players Through Camps at the College

    College coaches love to recruit players who have participated in ID or skill camps. The coaches already know those athletes' talent, work ethic, and how well they get along with those athletes. You will pay for the camps, but you will quickly see the pay-off.

    How do coaches attract students? ›

    Traditional Ads
    1. Newspaper Ads.
    2. Local TV ads.
    3. Distributing flyers to college students.
    4. Posters and banners displayed outside schools and colleges.
    5. Mailers and newspaper inserts.
    6. Word of mouth – get people you know to recommend you in their circles.
    15 Jul 2019

    How do you market a college? ›

    Here are 6 ways through which you can successfully promote your university:
    1. Account for how discerning the youth is. ...
    2. Give importance to student-to-student marketing. ...
    3. Focus on career opportunities. ...
    4. Structure content by degree programmes and levels. ...
    5. Select the right channels. ...
    6. Stress on campus tour promotions.

    What social media platforms do recruiters use? ›

    Instead, some employers have started recruiting developers through some niche social media platforms and forums such as Reddit, GitHub, and StackOverflow. Today, LinkedIn is still the most popular social network used to find new hires with over 90% of recruiters using LinkedIn to fill company job openings.

    How can social media be used effectively in recruitment? ›

    Social media enables recruiters to spread information about job openings and the organization to both passive and active candidates. Traditional recruiting methods, such as online job boards or advertisements, most often engage only active candidates who are looking for that information.

    How do I sell myself to college coaches? ›

    How To Market Yourself To College Coaches
    1. Understand Your Market. ...
    2. Sell What Makes You Unique. ...
    3. Sell Yourself As A Student-Athlete. ...
    4. Demonstrate Your Coachability. ...
    5. Social Media That Sells You. ...
    6. Be Honest.
    18 May 2022

    Is it OK to DM a college coach? ›

    Just remember, there are rules in place as to where, when, and how a college coach can contact you. As a student-athlete, you can DM a college coach at any time. The coach, however, may not be able to write back depending on the time period.

    Do college recruiters look at Instagram? ›

    If a college coach is actively using Instagram and is interested in recruiting you, they will most likely search for your Instagram profile and follow you first. But since Instagram is not every coach's social media preference in college recruiting, the responsibility may fall on the student-athlete.

    How do schools recruit students? ›

    The most effective recruiting practices and strategies employed by enrollment professionals are visits to high schools in primary markets by a member of the admissions office, interaction on the Internet, hosting campus visits with prospective students, and offering merit-based scholarships.

    What is a student recruitment plan? ›

    A student recruitment plan is a document that details your recruitment objectives and the strategies you'll put in place to achieve them. It's informed by your institution's vision as well as data from previous recruitment cycles.

    How do you recruit adult learners? ›

    Prospects want to know if they need to take a semester off they can do so without penalty.
    1. Communicating About Flexibility to Non-Traditional Students. ...
    2. Recognize the Emotions of Adult Learners and Non-Traditional Students. ...
    3. Addressing the Emotions of Adult Learners. ...
    4. Key Content to Market to Adult Learners.
    25 Jan 2021

    What is the best way to recruit students? ›

    1. 9 Fundamental Student Recruitment Strategies For Higher Ed in 2022. Anna Klawitter. ...
    2. List your recruitment strategies. ...
    3. Look at your previous enrollment data. ...
    4. Provide experiences at local high schools. ...
    5. Tell your unique campus story. ...
    6. Engage with students. ...
    7. Be Authentic. ...
    8. Use Social Media.
    1 Mar 2022

    How do schools recruit students? ›

    The most effective recruiting practices and strategies employed by enrollment professionals are visits to high schools in primary markets by a member of the admissions office, interaction on the Internet, hosting campus visits with prospective students, and offering merit-based scholarships.

    How do you recruit participants for a program? ›

    Share This Article
    1. Align your program with student needs. ...
    2. Share your story. ...
    3. Encourage word-of-mouth recruiting. ...
    4. Use digital marketing tools to promote your program. ...
    5. Demonstrate the importance of program participation to students and their families. ...
    6. Get involved in the community. ...
    7. Build connections with school teachers.
    16 Jul 2018

    What makes a good college recruiter? ›

    In addition, college recruiters must have strong communication and interpersonal skills as well as a high level of perseverance as they work with candidates. A successful college recruiter should be able to understand the needs of potential college students.

    How do diverse students recruit? ›

    10 best practices for hiring diverse college students
    1. Recruit your strategic hires where diversity thrives. ...
    2. Promote your diversity brand. ...
    3. Partner with professional associations and student groups that foster diversity. ...
    4. Attend or even host your own virtual career events that target minority students.
    19 Oct 2020

    What is the student recruitment cycle? ›

    The student recruitment process includes:

    Screening and selecting the best applicants. Assisting students with the visa application process. Taking care of the enrollment process and their final application. Integrating the new students to the university or school.

    How do colleges package themselves to attract students? ›

    Many non-Ivy universities and colleges are marketing themselves to prospective students by touting perks and amenities ranging from laptops and tablets to gourmet dining plans and over-the-top housing and recreational opportunities.

    What do student recruiters do? ›

    A Student Recruiter locates qualified individuals through community, college, high school and personal contacts and encourages their enrollment in general and/or specially funded programs of a college.

    How do middle school students recruit? ›

    Student Recruitment Strategies For Charter Schools
    1. Opinion pieces in popular education publications or local magazines.
    2. Blogging and guest posting.
    3. Listing themselves on education indexes or online sites.
    4. Sending out emails to interested parties who sign up.
    31 Aug 2018

    What is your recruitment strategy? ›

    A recruitment strategy is a clear-cut hiring plan that defines the roles your company plans to recruit for, when and where those job opportunities will be posted, and the evaluation strategies through which you'll identify top candidates.

    How will potential participants be recruited? ›

    Recruitment processes and materials vary greatly, and may involve formal letters, posting flyers, sending emails, announcements in classes or other settings, postings to online bulletin boards or social media sites, or informal personal conversations.


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