The 4 Step of Recruiting

Becky Morehouse

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Many years ago, the Green Bay Packers lost a game they shouldn’t have. 

According to legend, their coach, Vince Lombardi, told the team on the Monday morning following the loss, that it was time to get back to basics. As those words echoed around the locker room, he reached into a duffle bag and pulled out a familiar piece of pigskin. 

“This,” he said to the team, “is a football.”

Over the past several months, as colleges and universities struggle to deal with a pandemic that has compounded already onerous enrollment issues, I thought it might be good to return to the basics and remind everyone of the four sequential steps that will help to ensure enrollment success.  

Four Steps to Ensure Enrollment Success

1. You must have a compelling brand in the marketplace before you start to recruit.

Too often, colleges launch their search and recruiting strategies without spending the time (and associated resources) to build initial awareness. Missing that crucial step and investment will, more often than not, lead to failure. 

2. You must offer academic programs that are of interest to students and not offered by your competitors. 

Over the years I have made the case that a differentiated curriculum is your most important strategic asset. The more your programs look and sound like those offered by your competitors, the more likely you will have greater difficulty recruiting. There is nothing more valuable than in-demand majors. 

3. You must know how to recruit. 

This means you have a seasoned staff that is well-led and well-supported. You conduct the necessary research. You’re good at employing your CRM. You embrace social media. You spur action and conversions. Provide a great visit experience. You know how to move a prospect to an inquiry and an inquiry to an app. You are continually measuring what’s working and what’s not.

4. You need to know how to use financial aid. (Really kind of related to the third)

It isn’t about the amount of aid so much as the correct packaging, timing, and communicating of aid. 

That’s it. Four steps. Simple.  

Well, sort of.  

While the steps are straightforward, easy to understand, and even intuitive, the institutional support required to put them into action can be intimidating. Oddly, as with many things, it is less about dollars and more about politics and its close cousin…turf. 

While we may be talking about enrollment, we are really taking about leadership. It will take committed leadership to make the tough decisions that will bring strategy to fruition. 

Want to learn more? Schedule a free consultation with Becky today.

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