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Graduate Student Recruitment Tips

 Identifying and Proactively Recruiting Top Students

  • Boise State undergraduates are your number one audience! 
    • Make sure your current undergraduate students are knowledgeable about your program and research. 
    • Host an informal gathering where current graduate students can talk to current undergraduates. 
    • Identify students who may be uncertain about pursuing a graduate degree and schedule an appointment to talk to them. 
    • Talk with colleagues in related disciplines and advertise your program with their undergraduate students. 
  • Develop a flyer or card that can be handed out by students or colleagues when they attend conferences. 
  • Connect with the Graduate College.
    • Provide the Director of Graduate Recruitment with fliers, funding information and bragging points to take to graduate school fairs. 
  • Host a workshop for your high-achieving juniors to help them prepare a competitive application.
  • Develop a pipeline with colleagues at other universities.  Ask for student referrals. 
  • Advertise your program at the institutions where your former students attend. 
  • Use databases such as National Name Exchange, McNair, and GRE to identify prospects. 
  • Identify top students who are presenting at conferences that you are attending.
    • Chat with the students, take down their information, and send them an email or handwritten note.  
  • Host a chat using a free service.

Make your website a recruiter!

  • Your website is often times the first glimpse into your program that a student will see.
    • Make it transparent and easy to navigate. 
  • Test your website on a phone and tablet.  How does it look? 
  • Make your website more than just the “nuts and bolts.”
    • Consider adding student and faculty profiles.
    • Brag about student accomplishments and showcase faculty research and publications.
  • Alumni can be great resources!
    • Consider adding posts written by alumni or focusing on their accomplishments. 
  • Are you proud of the diversity in your program?  Post pictures that show the kind of open and welcoming environment your program enjoys. 
  • Make funding information easy to find.
  • Make contact information easy to find.
    • Don’t make a prospective student search for basic information.
    • Remember the “Two clicks and they’re done” rule. 
  • Update your website on a regular basis. 


Ongoing communication is extremely important in the recruitment of graduate students and can make a significant impact in a student’s decision to apply or commit to a program. 

  • Ongoing multi-modal communication with potential students at each stage of the recruitment process is a must.
    • Call and email highly qualified candidates on a set schedule.
    • Answer inquiries quickly.
  • After the initial inquiry from a potential student, a letter/email from the graduate coordinator and from a professor in the student’s area of interest should be sent.
  • Respond back to students within 24 hours of their call or email.  The sooner the better!
  • Ask faculty in a prospect’s area of interest to send a personal email or call. 
  • Unless a response from the potential student has already been received, an additional letter/email from the department head should be sent two weeks after the initial contact.
  • Continue to make regular contact with the prospect if they show interest in your program.
    • Go to them, don’t expect them to always come to you. 
  • Have current graduate students send emails or call prospective students.  Pizza is a great incentive for students to make calls for an hour or so in the evening. 
  • Communication does not stop with an application!
    • Continue to email or call a student until they walk through the doors on the first day of classes.

Campus Visits

  • Studies have shown that a campus visit is the best recruitment tool. Our campus and the City of Boise can easily sell your program!
  • Host an open house or partner with the Graduate College in one of our events. 
  • Invite current students to take the prospects to lunch or dinner at an establishment that is local to Boise.
  • Make sure that faculty are able to give the prospect plenty of individualized attention during her visit.
  • Get to know your prospect.  Arrange visits with other campus services, such as the Children’s Center, Veteran’s Services, Campus Recreation, etc.
  • Arrange a campus tour through the Graduate College.

Do not hesitate to contact the Katie Stone, Director of Graduate Recruiting, at with any questions.