Strategies for Recruiting Diverse Students

Strategies for Recruiting Diverse Students


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Connect more strategically with underserved student populations.

Faced with large-scale demographic shifts, many colleges and universities have made it a strategic priority to increase the socioeconomic diversity of their student body. Still, many have struggled along the way to develop recruitment strategies that are effective in engaging and attracting these populations to their institutions.

Join us in August for this program that showcases best practices and strategies for recruiting underserved populations (based on income, first-generation status, and/or ethnic diversity). This conference will equip you with the knowledge and tools necessary to answer questions like:

  • How can I connect with low-income and first-generation students early in their educational careers to help create college-going literacy?
  • What kinds of recruitment events are others using to help underrepresented students get acquainted with campus and make informed decisions?
  • How can I formulate external partnerships that will help build trust and connect the institution with diverse communities?
  • How can grit and other non-cognitive variables unmask the potential for first-generation and low-income students in the admissions process?


“Learn And Work” Style Conference

This conference is designed to be a “learn and work” style conference. By combining presentation with corresponding blocks of working time and activities, you will be able to leave with a robust workbook that will help you put what you learned at the conference into action on your campus.


Who Should Attend

This conference has been designed for Admissions and Enrollment Management professionals at both public and private four-year institutions who wish to develop or strengthen their current strategy for recruiting diverse students (based on income, first-generation status, and/or ethnic diversity) to their institutions.


Registration fee includes: Full access to all conference sessions and materials, breakfast, lunch, and access to the networking reception on Monday, breakfast and lunch on Tuesday, breakfast on Wednesday, as well as refreshments and snacks throughout the conference.

Day One
Creating a Campus-Wide Commitment


Welcome and Introductions



Opening Session: Aligning Recruitment Goals with Financial Realities

This opening session will provide an overview of relevant data surrounding the large-scale demographic shifts happening in the United States, as well as data on the opportunity gaps facing low-income, first-generation, and/or students of color. You will be asked to weigh this information against both mission and financial realities at your institution, which are often at odds with one another.



Defining Your Goals and Baseline

During this block of working time, you will be asked to complete Section I in a provided workbook, which will help you establish a baseline lens for the conference by asking you to:

  • Identify the goals and institutional priorities driving your diversity recruitment initiative;
  • Specify which segments of students you are already successfully serving, and which you need to do a better job engaging and recruiting; and
  • Rate the various “buckets” of recruitment tactics you are using to reach underrepresented students from strongest to weakest.



Using College-Going Literacy and Education as a Recruitment Tool

Many institutions connect with prospective underrepresented students while they are still in middle school or high school by offering educational sessions around financial aid and the college search/application process. These sessions both increase college-going literacy for low-income, first-generation, and/or students of color and help the institution build brand affinity and awareness early on. You will learn how one institution has successfully incorporated these educational sessions and a “coaching mindset” into its outreach strategy and how it is staying connected to these students as they approach the college-going age.



The Role of Grit and Non-Cognitive Variables in the Admissions Process for First-Gen and Low-Income Students: Part 1

This two-part session will strengthen your understanding of how grit and other non-cognitive variables can unmask the potential for first-generation and low-income students in the admissions process. During Part 1, we will examine the typical challenges and strengths of these students and how these variables influence their college-going behavior. Next, we will look at how grit and other non-cognitive variables can be assessed on the administrator side.



The Role of Grit and Non-Cognitive Variables in the Admissions Process for First-Gen and Low-Income Students: Part 2

We will engage in a comprehensive exercise wherein you will look over a selection of college applications and make observations about how they are or are not assessing for non-cognitive variables. You will end day 1 with a better understanding of, and potential rubrics for, how you might assess non-cognitive variables in your own admissions process.



Networking Reception


Day Two
Recruitment Tactics and Partnerships


Forming Strategic External Partnerships for Diversity Recruitment

Now that you have identified the segments of students need to do a better job of engaging and recruiting, it is critical to identify and build trusting relationships within the community that can be leveraged as pipelines to your institution. Community-based organizations such as nonprofits and faith-based organizations can be instrumental in building engagement in diverse communities, but—for lack of experience doing so—many institutions struggle to forge these external partnerships. This session will feature a case study from an institution that has formed several relationships with external community-based entities to help facilitate access and strengthen the recruitment pipeline for diverse groups of students. You will learn best practices for approaching these partnerships and tips for how to identify and build relationships with community-based partners in your own area.



Planning for External Partnerships

Building upon the previous session, you will engage in a hands-on activity that will help you identify and plan for potential external partnerships in your own area. Using a laptop, you will be asked to research and identify one to three potential community-based partners in your area and will develop a mini action-plan for how you will go about connecting with these partners when you return to campus. At the end of the activity, you will be asked to share your findings with the rest of the group.



On-Campus Events and Fly-In Programs

Many institutions are using fly-in programs or other specialized on-campus events as a yield strategy to help their admitted underrepresented students get acquainted with campus and hopefully decide to deposit and enroll. This session is a closer look into recruitment events strategies that different institutions are using specifically for their admitted underrepresented student populations.



Strengthening Your Recruitment Events Strategy

This block of working time will be focused on idea-sharing around recruitment events for underrepresented students. You will be given a brief worksheet to fill out, detailing the finer points of your own recruitment events strategy, and will then be divided into smaller groups based on institutional size to discuss and share ideas with others.



Financial Aid Packaging and Scholarship Considerations

The final session of Day 2 will focus on the all-important impact of financial aid packaging and merit scholarships for both the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students. Our presenter will share data and details about how their institution’s thought process and strategy evolved to reflect the institutional commitment to recruiting and supporting more underrepresented students. Our expert will also offer lessons learned and tips for those looking to advance this conversation on their own campuses.


Day Three
Bringing it All Together


Preventing Summer Melt

Research has shown that summer melt occurs at much higher rates among first-generation and low-income students than among other student populations. We will provide data and statistics around this phenomenon and showcase different strategies that institutions are using to help combat summer melt among incoming underrepresented students.



Strengthening Your Summer Melt Strategy

You will be asked to look critically at and workshop your own anti-summer melt strategy as it pertains specifically to your incoming underrepresented student populations. We will discuss and share ideas as a larger group at the end of the activity.



Bringing it All Together

In this closing session, you will reflect on your major takeaways from the conference and create an action plan for your return to campus.



Alan Paynter

Associate Director of Admissions, Dickinson College

Alan has been working with youth and families for more than twenty years. Nineteen years ago—prior to moving into higher education—he wore several hats as an elementary school teacher, mental health professional, and coach.

Read Alan's full bio here.


Barrington Price

Vice President of Student Success and Engagement, Dominican University

After having served in many diverse roles from mental health counselor, student success coach, advisor, to Assistant Vice President for Student Engagement at North Park University, Dr. Price is now in his inaugural year of a new Division as the Vice President for Student Success and Engagement at Dominican University.

Read Barrington's full bio here.

Eduardo Prieto pic

Eduardo Prieto

Vice President, Access and Enrollment Management, Winthrop University

Eduardo Prieto is an enrollment management professional whose twenty-six year career in higher education has included service at both public and private higher education institutions in four different states.

Read Eduardo's full bio here.

Jennifer_Schoen_012 (002)

Jennifer Shoen

Director, Opportunity Scholarship and Outreach Programs, Northeastern University

Jennifer Schoen is passionate about helping first-generation college students get into and graduate from college. Jennifer has spent the last 30 years in higher education working with underrepresented students in both admission and retention roles.

Read Jennifer's full bio here.

Questions About the Event?


Rabia Khan Harvey
Senior Program Manager, Academic Impressions

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