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Graduate Student Recruitment

Recruiting highly sought-after graduate students requires a plan that follows best practices.

Each graduate program and college should tailor recruiting practices to their specific circumstances. The Graduate School can help. Contact the Office of Graduate Student Recruitment and Diversity Office for a consultation.

Essential Information

  • Program’s average time to degree
  • Kinds of financial support available
  • Attrition rate or completion rate

Demographics and Climate

  • Provide demographics of faculty and students in the program
  • Give prospective students an opportunity to talk with current graduate students without faculty and staff present. They will ask about the climate in the program. Is it harsh and competitive, warm and supportive? Do students feel lost in the shuffle? How is the advising? the mentoring? Do the students want to be here?

What You Can Do to Recruit Successfully

  • Say only what is true.
  • Know your discipline, graduate program, and college and be ready to share information of interest to propsective students
  • Understand admissions criteria and timelines
  • Bring students to campus, and facilitate their exploration and connection with current students and faculty
  • Develop a departmental culture that supports and develops students
  • Mentorship and advising are critical components for success. Evaluate what is currently in place and areas of improvement
  • Make a degree completion plan a norm for each student in the graduate program
  • Consider bridging activities for first-year graduate students
  • Have plans in place for intervention when students have difficulty in the program. A commitment to early intervention can increase the likelihood that a student will successfully complete
  • Consider developing cohort-based programs, which can be very effective in both recruitment and retention

Stewardship of Applicants Leads to Acceptances

Applicants need to receive timely, personal attention at regular points. Communications should be sent from staff or faculty charged with recruitment responsibilities.

Receipt of Application. Send all applicants an email acknowledging that their application has been received and is of value to the graduate program. You can also supply admissions timeline information and information of interest to prospective students.

Regular Follow-up. Periodic inquiries are important throughout the application and offer periods, especially with the most sought-after prospective students. Check in with applicants to keep them engaged, see if they have questions, and to encourage timely submission of required material.

Admission Decisions. When admission decisions have been made, send an email to each student who has been admitted. This communication should be warm, congratulatory, express interest in them accepting the admission offer, and point them to information coming from Graduate Admissions. If your program encourages admitted students to visit, let them know about this opportunity.

Funding Decisions. Inform students who will receive funding support as soon as those decisions are made. Students who are awarded a fellowship should be notified quickly. Fellowship awsards are most effective as recruitment tools when they are made by a faculty member to the individual student.

On-going communication with all admitted students. Those who have not yet accepted their admission should be encouraged to do so. This kind of communication can be accomplished through efforts of current graduate students, faculty, and/or staff.

After Acceptances. Continue regular contact. Supply them with information useful to those students who are new to Ohio State and Columbus. Inform them about program and Graduate School orientations. Ask for their questions, and help find answers. Current graduate students, faculty, and staff can be part of this process and can help show the kind of community the student will be joining.

Still Have Questions?
* Diversity Recruitment, 614-688-2307