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Tale of the Thumbtack: Updating a Program Bulletin Board

Developing strategies to successfully recruit students is a key goal of the National Convergence Technology Center (CTC).  The CTC staff recently rolled up their sleeves to tackle this problem head-on when we decided to update a bulletin board in a classroom hallway here at Collin College.  The bulletin board is in a high-traffic area students pass on the way to computer and IT classes, but the information on it was out of date.  We huddled up and decided what elements that might attract Collin College students to the convergence program.  Then web editor (and resident graphic artist) Tricia Conner made the magic happen by turning the research into visuals that popped.


Specifically, our new bulletin board is designed to recruit students by…

  • Showcasing options that meet the unique needs of students.
    Collin College understands that many of its students have full-time jobs, which can make classwork a challenge.  Two unique programs – virtual labs that offer 24/7 lab time and virtual internships that provide an internship experience inside a capstone class structure – address that reality by offering novel solutions to students’ busy, overbooked schedules.
  • Telling success stories.
    The new bulletin board features four graduates and offers a quick update on “where are they now” in exciting, high-paying careers.  Testimonials are powerful.  Students know that the Collin College IT program works.
  • Tailoring curriculum to meet the needs of industry.
    The bulletin board doesn’t try to explain how Collin College benefits from an active group of business leaders to help guide the program, but it does present a handful of “Did You Know?” facts about the bright future of IT jobs and technology.  The intended implication is that there are many opportunities to be had in IT.
  • Connecting better with students.
    Research shows that salary figures are important to community college students.  Dollar signs catch their eye.  So the CTC staff spent a lot of time researching salary ranges both for specific IT certifications and for possible career paths with an IT degree.
  • Remembering to consider existing students.
    This display isn’t at the local high school cafeteria.  It’s in a Collin College hallway.  It’s easy to focus on recruiting new students at high schools, but don’t forget about the students you already have who might not yet have decided on a career path.
  • Extending the geography of the recruiting area.
    The recruiting message isn’t limited to this one bulletin board.  There’s also a stack of “Take One” flyers the student can take home or show to his family and friends.  Note also that this flyer space was designed to be interchangeable – that is, any flyer can go in the “Take One” space depending on the messaging needs.
  • Providing role models.
    The CTC wants to boost female enrollment in IT classes, so two of the four graduate profiles are women.  The message: IT isn’t just for men.

We will be keeping track of this bulletin board update to find out what impact it might have more enrollments for Collin College.

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