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How do you recruit students into your IT program?

This was a question posed during a recent web meeting of the National Convergence Technology Center’s (CTC) Convergence College Network (CCN).  Attending the meeting were 30 faculty members from 25 colleges across the country.  Below are some of the highlights of that group discussion on recruiting successes. (The CCN convenes each quarter to share resources and know-how.  It’s free to join, so if you have an IT program and would like access to the collective wisdom and expertise of faculty and administrators at 76 colleges in 28 states, consider applying for membership. Click here for application.)

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  • Bring current students to recruiting events, not just faculty and advisors. Prospects will connect better to your students.
  • Two weeks before early registration, set up a big TV in high-traffic campus areas (like in front of the library and/or the cafeteria) and run a simple, short PowerPoint presentations on program selling points. Include specifics on faculty members.
  • To educate advisors on your program, invite them to your classroom. Lab demonstrations can be particularly effective in helping advisors better understand the appeal of your program and career path.
  • Participate in multi-department recruiting events that can expand the reach of your recruiting by possibly drawing interest in your program from prospects attending the fair to learn about other programs.
  • “In-reach” recruiting takes advantage of existing, enrolled students who may not have gotten into the program of their choice. A popular example involves students who didn’t get into a nursing program, but might be interested in an IT degree because of the way both careers focus on helping others and solving problems.  One school reported that an English major decided during the advising period to switch programs.
  • Use the contact information gathered at fall events to follow-up with prospects individually in the spring.
  • Provide context for IT programs and careers, rather than just cool technology and dry statistics.Stories can be more engaging and appealing.
  • Sponsor a high-school-level hackathon that might connect faculty sponsors directly with prospective students and their parents.
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