The purpose of recruiting is to increase the quality, quantity or diversity in your enrollment mix. Recruiting is best done by faculty, alumni, and current graduate students, because they can provide information about the curriculum, work experience, career choices and answer the detailed questions that prospects have.
The first phase of recruiting typically starts at UCF in early September with the Graduate Fair. We recommend that the graduate program provide an open house for undergraduate students who may be interested in graduate school early in the fall. Ensure that the information on your website is up-to-date and that you provide links to the Graduate Catalog and the Graduate Application for Admission. We also recommend that you have faculty call colleagues at peer institutions to inquire about potential applicants and then prepare direct e-mails to send to these prospects.
The second phase of recruiting begins when you have finally offered admission to students in February. It is the program director’s responsibility to organize specific faculty and graduate students to call candidates and answer any questions that they may have. The College of Graduate Studies will follow up with an e-mail to all admitted students with information and request an acceptance or rejection of the offer. Please remember that often students will accept the first offer that they receive (particularly international students) and certainly the best offer they receive.
Best Practices in Recruiting
- Determine where your students come from and the best way to reach that particular audience.
- If a program attracts part-time students from the local region, determine how to let those potential applicants know about your program.
- If your program attracts full-time out of state students, determine what states, institutions and professions they belong to.
- Please update your contact information with the College of Graduate Studies when the program director or support staff changes by e-mailing Michelle Pozdoll at Michelle.Pozdoll@ucf.edu.
- Incorporate the Information Request link into your college, department and program websites. This links students to the College of Graduate Studies online Information Request form, where prospects can enter their information and receive automated general and program information e-mails from the College of Graduate Studies.
- Enter information that you have obtained about prospects from various meetings, phone calls, graduate fairs, and other activities into the Information Request so that these prospects will be entered into the database, appear on your weekly prospect report and receive e-mail communications from the College of Graduate Studies. People that take the time to attend an event are already highly interested in your program and the best way to move them to an applicant is by following up immediately with worthwhile information that they need to know.
- Pull your prospect reports weekly from GradInfo to see who is interested in your program and follow up with them to facilitate the application and enrollment processes.
- Conduct a focus group of your current students to find out what they like about the program. Use this information to recruit prospective students and ask your current students to help by sharing their experiences with prospects. Interested in conducting a focus group? Contact Leben Goldman at Leben.Goldman@ucf.edu.
- Please make admissions decisions within a couple of days of receiving the application. Thanks to technology, prospects expect instant responses from their electronic applications, and the quicker they receive a response, the more likely they are to enroll. Students should receive an admissions decision within two weeks of the application being processed. International students will accept their first admissions offer.
Communications and Advertising
- In general, website information has to be up to date, accurate and consistent. Please check to ensure that you have a link to the Graduate Admissions website, the Online Application, Information Request Form, Funding and the Graduate Catalog on your website.
- Focus your efforts on online advertising, e-mail communications, and your program website, since most graduate prospects will get their information this way. Faculty communication and advertising are the most effective ways to recruit. An accurate and current website highlighting faculty expertise and financial support is crucial to advertising your program. Printed brochures are valuable only for recruiting events or related activities as a supplement to faculty expertise.
- Request State University System and UCF undergraduate lists and send communications to these prospects including information about your program, scheduled events and testimonials from alumni, students and faculty. The request forms are located in the Downloads section of GradInfo and should be submitted to Leben Goldman at Leben.Goldman@ucf.edu.
- Implement a systematic communications plan, that would allow you to communicate important information to your prospects, applicants, admits, and current students. The communications should be personalized, with e-mails and phone calls from faculty, alumni, and current students. This is the most important part of the process for converting prospects to current students. See Sample Communications Plan.
- The College of Graduate Studies will supplement your communications through a series of automated HTLM communications specific to your program. These communications are automated by the College of Graduate Studies, but should be updated and edited on a regular basis by each program. If you have questions about making these edits or updates, please contact Leben Goldman at Leben.Goldman@ucf.edu.
- As soon as an application is received, an automatic response should be sent back to the student informing them about your program and the faculty and research strengths. It is important that websites include truth in advertising information – number of applications and percentage of those admitted and enrolled, qualifications of the average student enrolled in your program, time to degree for your students, the percentage of students who graduate with their degree, the percentage who receive financial support and the nature of the financial support (fellowships, assistantships, loans, etc.), and stories about the successes of your students and faculty. Applicants are increasingly looking for this information and failure to provide it can discourage a student from applying to your program.
- Invite applicants to an online open house to provide information and answer questions to facilitate the completing of the application process. Contact Leben Goldman at Leben.Goldman@ucf.edu to schedule.
- Consider hosting open houses, graduate fairs, pizza parties, discussions with undergraduates, tours of your labs or facilities, etc. Create relationships with feeder schools, make presentations to other colleges' club activities (particularly those that are four-year institutions).
- Have faculty, alumni, and current students attend recruiting events, including the Graduate Fair at UCF in September, a pizza party to recruit your undergraduate students held in early fall, chat room discussions, etc. Students and applicants want to talk with faculty who are excited about their research and their discipline.
- UCF undergraduate students are our best prospect pool, schedule events specifically to recruit these students into your program.
- When attending recruiting events, you can download the Prospect Inquiry Form from the Downloads section of GradInfo and use these to gather information about prospects. Note: information must include either a birth date or Social Security Number in order to be entered into the system.
- Schedule an online open house (chats) with the College of Graduate Studies for your prospects, your applicants, your admitted students, and your newly enrolled students as a way of answering their questions and making sure they take the next step in the admissions process. Contact Leben Goldman at Leben.Goldman@ucf.edu.
- Please provide details about your program events to Leben Goldman at Leben.Goldman@ucf.edu for inclusion on the Graduate Students website events calendar.
- Attend the Grad Fair held every year in September, hosted by the College of Graduate Studies. Contact Leben Goldman for more information at Leben.Goldman@ucf.edu. Students are provided with information about the Graduate Fair at www.graduate.ucf.edu/GradFair
Recruiting Resources Available
- The College of Graduate Studies provides training to new program directors and staff as needed. Access to GradInfo and other systems will not be issued until this training has been completed. To schedule a training session, please contact Leben Goldman at Leben.Goldman@ucf.edu.
- Use the GradInfo website to track inquiries, find data about your program, download forms and files, and download weekly inquiry, prospect and admissions reports. If you don’t have access to GradInfo, please contact Leben Goldman at Leben.Goldman@ucf.edu.
- Request a UCF and SUS undergraduate lists and communicate with these prospects. Request forms are located in the downloads section of GradInfo.
- Request a list from the GRE service center and communicate with these prospects. Request forms are located in the downloads section of GradInfo.
Timeline of Activities
Annual Recruiting Plan
||Make admissions decisions, communicate with people with incomplete applications and follow up quickly with new inquiries.
||Complete admissions decisions for fall semester. For non-doctoral and non-fellowship admits, continue to follow up on incomplete applications and new inquiries.
||Survey your current students to determine strengths and weaknesses of the program. Use this information in your recruiting plan.
||Contact local organizations and companies to schedule workshops and presentations for the spring semester to promote your program.
||Work with undergraduate organizations and service departments on campus to schedule workshops and presentations for the spring semester to promote your program. Request UCF undergraduate student lists and invite them to your scheduled presentations.
||Spend time reviewing your website, update program information and contact information to keep current and consistent. Update content for CRM communications.
||Research recruiting fairs at other institutions and industry organizations and plan your recruiting schedule for the fall semester.
||Contact your relationships at potential feeder institutions, companies and organizations to schedule workshops and presentations for the fall. Request SUS student lists and communicate your recruiting plans.
||Attend the Grad Fair! Host a table and bring faculty, students and alumni to talk with prospects. Also, schedule follow up communications with prospects who visited your table.
||Attend recruiting fairs at key feeder institutions. Also, host online chat/open house sessions for your prospects to answer questions about your program and the application process.
||Communicate with prospective students you have recruited this fall to facilitate the application process before the priority deadline — January 15.
||Take advantage of this time to organize your plans for the spring semester.