Attracting the Right Students with Effective Recruitment Techniques

Last updated on: April 13, 2020

clock icon 3 minute read
clock icon 3 minute read

Today, many higher education institutions need to attract more students, but may focus exclusively on numbers instead of attracting students who are a good fit. Emphasizing quantity over quality in your recruitment strategy can backfire in the form of students dropping out or needing high levels of support to pass their classes.

Focusing on potential students who are the right fit for your institution and program can help ensure you maintain strong retention and graduation rates, as well as provide a foundation for each student’s academic success. The result is students who not only do well and graduate, but enjoy a rich and fulfilling learning experience – which they will communicate to others.

Below are a few guidelines for institutions to consider for marketing materials and during the admissions process to ensure you are attracting and admitting the right students:

Make sure you are highlighting relevant academic and/or professional background and skills.

This seems obvious, but a high GPA and good test scores don’t always tell the whole story. If a program requires a lot of writing and the applicant’s writing skills are weak, or they dislike writing, they are going to struggle. Be sure to call attention to these attributes in your recruitment materials.

Be clear about the direction and nature of the program.

Someone who wants to focus on developing their practical skills is not going to be happy in a program that has a theoretical emphasis. Similarly, someone who already has many of the practical skills they need to succeed in a field may be looking for a deeper foundation.

Look for individuals who show evidence of commitment.

These applicants have been motivated to meet goals in the past. They tend to be self-starters who take responsibility for their own success. You might look for examples of projects they have spearheaded and seen through to completion, or ask about goals they have met in life.

Emphasize support resources.

Good students know that there is no shame in asking for assistance when it is needed, and that everyone needs help once in a while. Applicants who utilize support resources show dedication to facing challenges and working problems out, meaning they are likely to persevere in your program.

Communicate your institution’s values and mission.

For example, students who have strong feelings about social justice or political activism will be a better fit at a college or university with robust traditions in those areas.

Target potential students who are excited about learning and adding to their skills, not just getting a credential.

Students who are too focused on the end goal may do the minimum required. Those who are fully engaged contribute to a rich and full learning experience that benefits everyone in the course. Look for individuals who have a history of learning new things beyond their professional interests, enjoy reading for fun, or have hobbies they are passionate about.

Having a coherent strategy for attracting students who are going to thrive and graduate is a vital part of your admissions planning and recruitment strategy. Our flexible partnership model allows us to translate your institution’s unique mission into marketing campaigns and admissions services that ensure you are targeting and enrolling students who will succeed and help you meet your recruitment goals.

To learn more about our marketing and recruiting services, visit our Resources page.

Heather Kenny

Senior Creative Copywriter
  • Let's Talk

    Complete the form below and we will be in contact soon to discuss your needs. If you have a question about textbooks, please email

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

By submitting your information, you agree to the processing of your personal data as per Wiley's privacy policy.