Tips for Better Recruiting at College Fairs

  • Jun 6, 2011

It’s a Young Person’s World-Give Them What They Want

I have visited over a dozen campus recruiting events for my children–and I find it funny how a $80,00-$120,000 four-year investment still merits an imprinted ballpoint pen.

At the last one I visited with my daughter, I was given seven pens, two decals, a mini calendar and a plastic mini 6-inch football. What a catch!

Come on! Is a plastic pen with a college logo on it really going to make anyone think twice about the university?

Is that free gift really going to set your university/college/technical school out from the crowd?

Does the gift make your college website worth a visit?

Will it encourage a call to the admission’s counselor?

Will the gift get you the required information from the student–or get him the information he/she needs?


A successful college recruitment program should capture a potential applicant’s attention — and bring them closer to a decision.

There are many questions going through the mind of these applicants–and a short two minute conversation at a college fair will not answer all of them.

Also, spending too much with one person may let better qualified suitors pass by. Many of the booths are manned by a single person, where they must juggle multiple people at one time.

So what can you do?

This is not an immediate give-and-go. A college choice is not usually a spur of the moment decision.

Both the students and the parents are gathering facts, and the more information you can gather about their individual needs, the better you can help them in making their choice.

In this example, Northwestern decided to offer every visitor to their booth a Digital Reward Card redeemable for one FREE Ringtone.

When students accessed the site printed on the back of the card to redeem their Ringtone, they were asked to provide some information related to their future education and career interests. The university was able to gain future contacts while also promoting the educational opportunities their school provided. This information was then passed on to the correct person for follow up. It’s that simple…and you can click on the link for more information on the campus recruiting incentive program.

We have done many other digital rewards and incentives with both colleges and the military, including Free iPhone skins, free movie tickets, free branded “free return & reward service” for lost luggage and laptops, free pizza and even 30 minutes of free personal assistant.

The gift could only be redeemed after the student answered the questionnaire. These are the type of gifts that students are interested in..and will be glad to trade personal information to receive–as they have value to them.

For $1-$5 per branded card, the opportunity to get qualified people to visit your website and leave personal information is much more valuable than a ballpoint pen.

Be creative.. and recruit those students that are out of the box thinkers. It will be more fruitful to both parties.

Happy recruiting!