1. Finding students

There are several concrete ways to find potential students. Below is an outline of how to go about finding students as well as a description for each tool that can be used.

2. Communication Best Practices

Steps to find students

It’s crucial to identify this recruitment goal to decide the best tools and/or tactics to use and how to shape your messaging. Try answering the following questions to get started:

  • Does your program want to increase overall application rates?
  • Do you have enough applicants but you’d like a more academically competitive pool?
  • Would your program like to better represent underrepresented minority groups?
Evaluate which recruitment methods have worked in the past and which have not. Consider these questions:

  • Is there any reason why you should try something new or is traditional the way to go?
  • Can the faculty/staff who were a part of those efforts be contacted to get their insight? Try sending out a call asking what has been done in the past; you might even find faculty who are interested in helping.
There are several tools and strategies to recruit students to your graduate program. Below are detailed descriptions of recruitment tools available to all departments.

Once this is selected, it’s time to communicate with the potential students.

Tools and strategies to find potential students

Strength: The extensive search criteria makes it easy to find the exact student you’re looking for and can meet a wide variety of goals.
Weakness: When you communicate, it may be through a cold call.
Cost: $0.50/name (you’re able to see how many names your search yields before purchasing) Possibly printing costs for mailer.
The Office of Research and Graduate Studies will cover these costs if proposal is submitted.
How to use: Contact Joan Rudd to run a report.

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The McNair Scholar Directory provides detailed information on all current Ronald E. McNair scholars. It is a spreadsheet (updated annually) of high-achieving underrepresented and/or first generation undergraduate students interested in graduate degrees.

Strengths: Detailed information about high achieving and underrepresented students and their USU application fee is waived.
Weaknesses: There are fewer names than the GRE Search Service and when you communicate, it may be a cold call.
Cost: Free to use. Possibly printing costs for mailer.
How to use: Contact Heather Zollinger for an Excel sheet and credentials.

McNair Search Criteria:

  • State of Institution
  • Institution
  • Name
  • Address
  • Email
  • Major
  • Graduation date
  • Presentation titles
Strength: Talk face-to-face with prospective students, so in follow up communications, there is already a connection.
Weakness: There is no way to know what type of student will be there, making it hard to know if you’ll be on track with your goal- unless you’re visiting a feeder-institution for your program.
Cost of Utah’s circuit (early registration): $800/all 8 fairs – $125/individual fairs. Possibly costs for table supplies and printing costs for handouts.

Learn More
Gradschoolmatch is an online hub made to help aid recruitment. Faculty and staff are able to search for prospective students that are actively looking for programs by “bookmarking” them. Students can also bookmark your program. This makes the interaction personal, fast and easy.

Strengths: Easy to learn, fast to use, messages go directly to prospective students who are actively looking, potential candidates can make initial contact and be responded to easily and quickly.
Cost: Free
How to use: Contact Heather Zollinger with any questions or to be added to your program(s) Gradschoolmatch profile.

Strengths: They already have ties to USU, so contacting them can be more personal since you have the ability to meet with them in person. Honors and URF’s application fees are waived.
Weakness: Might not expand program in ways that meet goals.
Cost: Possibly printing costs for handout.
How to use: Contact the undergrad program contact to discuss acquiring a list of prospective students or having a message coming directly from the coordinator to prospective students.

Honors Program Coordinator: amber.summers@usu.edu
Undergraduate Research Director: scott.bates@usu.edu

Professional society listservs: If your program has something to offer (like a PDRF or lab opening), you can use that as your messaging to send to your professional society’s email list.

Information requests: Don’t let these go unnoticed. These prospective students are interested in your program and are giving you a way to contact them directly.

Networking with other universities: Some professors have recruited successfully by forming relationships with other professors in their field and asking these contacts if they know of any undergraduate students in their programs that might be a good fit.

We’d love to hear any other successful ways you’ve found prospective students. Contact Heather Zollinger with additional ideas you’d like to share here.

2. Communication Best Practices