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Fourteen Strategies for Recruiting, Retaining, and Completing Students

The National Convergence Technology Center (CTC) recently hosted a quarterly meeting with faculty and administrator members of the Convergence College Network (CCN) community. At that meeting, CCN members shared strategies and programs that have showed success recruiting, retaining, and completing IT students. Highlights from those presentations – as well as similar presentation series delivered in 2020 – are below. Many of these are widely implemented at colleges across the country, while others are more unique and might be worth consideration at your program.


1. Employer “roadshows” – recruiting visits to high schools that include industry presentations and engagement from local employers, not just faculty and advisors

2. Educating advisors – not only should local high school counselors understand what your program is offering, but your own college advisors should be able to direct undeclared students to your program

3. Provide multiple program entry points – schedule entry-level classes throughout the year so students can enter the program at any time, rather than having to wait 12 months if they miss a deadline

4. Innovative high school dual credit formats – one college connects multiple high school classes via videoconferencing so a single teacher can handle the entire class; another college coordinates the dual credit high school student schedule so they either start their day or end their day at the college

5. Recruit where the students and their families are – one college brings a trailer to local high school football games to promote their program to students as well as their families by showcasing simple computer lab exercises and demos

Retention and completion

6. Continuous job search support – keep students updated via email on open internships and job openings (both part-time and full-time) to strengthen their connection to the program

7. Arrange industry fields trips – take first-year students to local employers for site visit tours and hands-on learning

8. Student tutors – you may not be able to call them “tutors” depending on your career service center rules, but use students with high GPAs to tutor students in need

9. Host professional organization meetings – if you provide a venue for professional organizations, that gets you and your students access to the cutting-edge content and the employer membership

10. Create a regular meeting space for students – one college sets up a lab every Friday morning and serves donuts for female students, a gathering that often helps the students deal with both interpersonal challenges and academic challenges

11. Streamlined “alert” system – make it easy for faculty to notify counselors and administrators when a student is having trouble

12. Understand your own registration and admission system – know where students might encounter barriers, like one college who took action to address the loss of students between registering and enrolling

13. Don’t let your graduates disappear – bring back recent graduates to inspire and mentor current students as peers

14. Encouraging completion – in a time when many community college students get hired and drop out before getting a degree or certificate, work with your local employers to encourage them to push their new hires to complete their education

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