GPC Trainings2018-10-27T04:08:35+00:00

GPC Trainings

As a Graduate Program Coordinator, part of your role includes recruiting prospective students and supporting current students with degree completion. The Office of Research and Graduate Studies offers many trainings and resources to help you.

You can also check out Recruitment Bootcamp, an in-person training series held once a month on the Thursday following GPC meetings.

If you’d like to suggest or learn more about GPC trainings, contact Heather Zollinger or School of Graduate Studies staff.

Recruiting Students

Flyers can be a good way to increase awareness of your graduate program on campus or at recruitment events. The Office of Research and Graduate Studies can review recruitment materials like flyers and provide constructive feedback to you. You can get started with flyer design by downloading InDesign and checking out the resources below.

Installing InDesign

Part of the Adobe Creative Suite, InDesign can be downloaded for free to your work computer.

  1. Log into ServiceNow.
  2. Select Service Catalogues.
  3. Select Software Licensing
  4. Select Adobe.
  5. Select Creative Cloud.
  6. Add Creative Cloud to your cart.
  7. Checkout.

Once your employment is verified, you’ll receive an email with instructions about how to download the software.

When the download is complete, open InDesign and choose to create a new document. A blank 8.5×11 document will open, which you can use to create a flyer.

Common Tools

The text box tool is used to type text in the document. It’s best to create multiple text boxes and drag them into place.

The rectangle tool is used to create boxes of color. Draw a box and choose the desired color from the top toolbar. Text boxes can be placed on top of rectangles.

To add an image to your flyer, select “File” from the top toolbar and select “Place.” Next, choose the image you want to add to the flyer and place it where you want it. Drag, resize or reposition as needed. Images often appear fuzzy in InDesign, but they will not appear fuzzy when printed. To see what the flyer will look like printed, select “View” in the top toolbar and select “Overprint Preview.” When creating your document, try use no more than three images and incorporate white space to make the document easy to read.

To print, select “File” and then export as PDF. A PDF will be easier to print whether in-house or by a professional copy center.

More Resources

To learn more about InDesign, the following resources are available at Merrill-Cazier Library:

PowerPoint is a free and simple way to create effective presentations.

Some PowerPoint best practices include:

  • Starting with a blank presentation instead of a template, even a USU template.
  • Using colors to show transitions, not to make your slides more exciting.
  • Incorporating only one photo per slide, if any.
  • Avoiding animated transitions.
  • Being aware of slide size. To check slide size, select the “Design” tab, select “Slide Size” and choose standard or widescreen.

Learn more about PowerPoint.

Social media can generate interest in your program. Whether you’re managing your department’s or program’s social media, there are some best practices you should follow to make sure you reach and engage the right prospective students.

  • Know your audience. On social media, you’ll primarily communicate with current and prospective students. Keeping your language conversational yet professional will help students grasp your message.
  • Use images. Posts with pictures always receive higher engagement. Potential student want to see what your department or program is like, not read about it.
  • Post relevant content. Check out GradHacker or the Gradschoolmatch blog for current content important to grad students.
  • Highlight student stories. Share good news about students in your program. Tagging students and faculty makes them feel recognized and increases the post’s reach and engagement.
  • Be funny. Social media is meant to be informal and fun. Use gifs, emojis or comics to communicate non-serious messages. Balance humor with other types of content.
  • Share or retweet posts. Whether from students or the School of Graduate Studies, sharing content can create connections between students and the university and increase your followers.
  • Track your content. Determine which posts do best by dividing the reach by the number of likes or comments. Knowing what content gets attention and what doesn’t can help you plan more engaging content. Expand your knowledge with 5 Essential & Easy Social Media Metrics You Should Be Measuring Right Now.

Search Engine Optimization

A web search is the most common way prospective students find degree programs. When they search for a degree program, you want your program to be one of the first in search results.

There are 10 easy ways to optimize your website for search. These changes can also help your site follow ADA requirements.

  1. Use Google search and analytics to learn what users search for and from which pages.
  2. Create content users are searching for.
  3. Write clear, concise content.
  4. Include keywords in a natural flow of writing.
  5. Use paragraph headings to improve readability and search performance.
  6. Create page URLs using only a few spelled-out keywords with hyphens in between.
  7. Link to internal pages and reputable external pages when appropriate.
  8. Link keywords, never “click here” or “available on this webpage” language.
  9. Check links often to make sure they open the correct page and don’t produce an error.
  10. Add alt text to all images, but don’t use images to replace words.

User Experience

Making your website easy for users to navigate means they find what they’re looking for. Frustration with a website can cause a user to give up completely.

Websites should be designed around users’ expectations. Consider how easy it is for students to access important information on your site. To investigate the user experience of your website, you can:

  • Ask faculty and staff about the most common questions they get from students. The answers could mean that information is missing or hard to find on the website.
  • Organize a student focus group to help identify challenges they face when using the site.
  • Use Google Analytics to learn how users navigate the site and where they stumble.

You can also improve user experience by creating clean page design and writing concise content. Keep sentences and paragraphs short. Use headings to make skimming content easier. Make long lists into bullet points.

Google Analytics

Track user engagement with Google Analytics, a free tool with training courses to help you get started.

With Google Analytics, you can learn how many users visit your site, their demographic data, when they visit and which pages they visit. More than that, you can track their navigation- how they actually use the website.

Some behaviors to look for include:

  • Most popular pages
  • Pages where users resort to site search
  • What terms users search for while on the site
  • Loops in navigation
  • Common tasks users aren’t completing

For assistance with your website, contact laura.kendellen@usu.edu or sign up for Recruitment Bootcamp.

Whether you’re bringing students to Utah State through the RGS Weekend Visit or an informal campus visit, you can prepare by answering questions from the students’ perspective. Examples include:

  • Do students want to meet with faculty?
  • Do students want to learn about research supports like the library and grants?
  • Do students want to know about housing opportunities?
  • Do students want to access family resources on campus?

A campus visit gives you an opportunity to showcase what your program, department and the university can offer the prospective student. But you can also connect with the student individually. Show your prospective students you understand their needs, care about their academic career and aspirations, and want to accommodate their interests.

Follow these best practices when planning a campus visit for prospective students:

  • Create a schedule and make sure students have time to complete all the activities.
  • Be in contact with students multiple times before their visit.
  • Make sure students know you will be available to answer any questions they have. Students who feel they have opportunities to make personal connections are more satisfied with their campus visit than those who don’t.

Supporting Current Students

Argos is a system that pulls student information from USU’s Access Banner. Both a recruiting tool and a reporting method for current students, Argos can help you track students within your program. The Argos tutorials made for Utah State can help you optimize your program’s data.
Box is an online file sharing database free for students, faculty and staff.

The School of Graduate Studies staff maintain a Box folder of important Graduate Program Coordinator files including:

  • GPC meeting minutes
  • Tuition waivers
  • Application and admission reports
  • Contact information for all departments
  • Application system training materials
  • Recruit training materials
  • GPC handbook

Check out Box navigation tips and online tutorials to help get familiar with the file system.

Signed into law in 1974, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects all student academic information.

Because of FERPA, students have the right to:

  • Inspect and review their educational records.
  • Request the amendment of educational records to ensure that they are not inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy or other rights.
  • Consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s educational records except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
  • If a complaint cannot be resolved within the university, file with the U.S. Department of Education a complaint concerning alleged failures by Utah State University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

All university employees who have access to student records must complete FERPA training once every three years.