Institutional Resources and Support
The resources described in this section are designed to help you implement an effective graduate student recruitment strategy.
Graduate student recruitment grants: The USU School of Graduate Studies offers small student recruitment grants (up to $1,500) to support program activities that directly contribute to the recruitment of high quality graduate students. Preference will be given to departments and programs that demonstrate efforts to recruit doctoral students or underrepresented groups to their disciplines, and to efforts that leverage other funds. Eligible activities include, but are not limited to, bringing prospective students to USU campus, visits to out-of-state recruitment fairs or professional conferences, or development of recruiting materials.
- What sells your program?
As you consider different communications tools or activities, keep in mind the major factors that have been found to affect how graduate students choose programs. A 2005 graduate student recruiting survey by the National Association of Graduate Admissions Professionals (NAGAP) asked "What are the most important factors in your choice of a graduate program?" Students responded:
- Location - 49.7%
- Program's academic reputation - 38%
- Specific faculty - 18.6%
- Cost - 18.2%
- Program's specific emphasis - 17%
- Degree offered - 14.7%
- Research projects - 11.2%
- Student loans - 11%
Things to keep in mind:
♦ Be consistent. Create a message that captures your department/program under USU's "brand," and use it in all of your communications materials.
♦ Emphasize value-added aspects of graduate education at USU and in your program:
- RGS-sponsored grantsmanship training
- USU Research Scholars Certification Program
- RGS Grad student travel support for conference presentations
- What value-added opportunities does your program offer?
♦ Focus on your website.
An attractive, informative, and dynamic website that prominently displays information about the graduate program is essential to effective communication with prospective students. Information you may want to include on the website includes:
- Opportunities for graduate students
- escriptions of faculty research
- Examples of professional opportunities of recent graduates
- Notable graduate student accomplishments
- Professional opportunities beyond the discipline
- Clear expectations and expected timelines to graduation
- Available funding opportunities including state GAs and, when appropriate, research funding
- Early commitment rewards
- Information on opportunities to visit the campus
♦ Communications resources
The Office of Research and Graduate Studies provides many resources capturing the USU student experience and research strengths while emphasizing personal growth and impact. Examples include:
- Ascend stories
- RGS news articles
- Template for department recruiting brochure
These files contain templates for internal and external components of a recruiting brochure. There is standardized boiler text about Utah State University School of Graduate Studies, as well as space for information about your specific program. Use the enclosed fonts to maintain visual consistency.
- Qualtrics: User-friendly software to build professional survey tools to evaluate your recruitment strategies
Qualtrics is a survey software suite powerful enough to handle academic and professional survey research, yet simple enough for anyone to quickly become proficient in. The Research and Graduate Studies Office has purchased a site license so that Qualtrics is available for all USU faculty, staff, and students at no cost.
With Qualtrics, you can easily survey current students to find out what aspects of your recruiting strategy were effective and which were not. Ask what mediums students preferred to learn about your program through and what mediums they found to be ineffective. You can also build a survey for students who declined acceptance to your program to discover why they chose to go elsewhere. Both approaches will help you learn the strengths and weaknesses of your program and develop messaging to showcase your competitive advantages.
Visit http://it.usu.edu/htm/qualtrics to get started.
Finding the Best Students
Remember that the most effective graduate student recruiters are faculty, alumni, and current graduate students because they can provide detailed, first-hand information about your program and the career choices it will offer them. To attract the best students, be proactive; determine where students that are the best "fit" for your program come from, and develop relationships with colleagues at those institutions that will create a pipeline of new student referrals. Other resources that may help you find outstanding student prospects include:
Databases for prospective students
National McNair senior directory. The McNair Scholars Program is a federally funded effort to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups who go on to graduate study. Each summer, the program submits scholars' names and intended areas of graduate study to a national database of rising McNair seniors. This database is sent to U.S. graduate schools that use it to recruit McNair Scholars to their programs. Please note that McNair Scholars are not charged the application fee for graduate admission. For access, please contact the School of Graduate Studies at 797.1189.
GRE student scores database. You can use the GRE Search Service to reach a broad, diverse group of prospective applicants or refine your search to identify specific characteristics you are seeking - ranging from detailed geography selections, gender, ethnicity, academic performance, educational interests, and more. Choose from email address, telephone number, or mailing address to best fit your outreach style. For access, please contact the School of Graduate Studies at 797.1189.
EducationUSA. A global network of hundreds of advising centers supported by the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. EducationUSA centers actively promote U.S. higher education around the world by offering accurate, comprehensive, and current information about educational institutions in the United States and guidance to qualified individuals on how best to access those opportunities. If you are looking to expand international recruitment efforts, contact any of the 13 Regional Education Advising Coordinators that oversee different countries and provide logistical support and training for the advisers in their regions. These key individuals are great resources for understanding the various issues on the ground in their regions that impact U.S. institutions. For assistance or information, please visit https://www.educationusa.info/secure/login.php.
For additional assistance in recruitment of international students, please contact the USU Office of International Students and Scholars.
Graduate Student Fairs
Graduate student and career fairs happen across the country throughout the year. Click here to find information about graduate school fairs close to USU.
Interpreting Graduate Admission Exam Scores:
Finding Funds for Graduate Student Support
USU offers several options for financing graduate students, including scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships. Learn more about the Presidential Doctoral Research Fellows Program by clicking here.
Other graduate student support options include externally funded research. For more information on research proposal development, click here.