(ABILENE, Texas) – Texas State Technical College recruiters have become more innovative when talking to prospective students.

Those efforts have had good results, according to Daniel Martin, TSTC’s student recruitment director for the West Texas campuses.

“Student recruitment representatives found great success over the past 12 months, and we expect an improved enrollment for fall 2021 following a consultative recruiting model,” he said. “COVID-19 made every aspect more difficult for prospective students and their influencers, like parents, teachers and counselors. Our biggest gains have come from a complete shift to a recruiting approach that prioritizes relationships to identify the best means for our customers’ needs.”

Martin said that began by working with high schools and community organizations.

“We have made every effort to adapt by doing virtual presentations, developing unique program experiences for individual schools on campus, and continuing face-to-face presentations,” he said.

Chris Johnson, lead student recruitment representative for TSTC’s West Texas campuses, said it is important to meet students in person to build a relationship.

“It’s very important for us to go out and visit schools and events throughout the state,” he said. “We don’t want to be the best-kept secret in Texas; we want them to know there’s another way to get a high-paying career.”

Recruitment representatives also worked with prospective students more in-depth.

“A call was made to every applicant,” Martin said. “And we did not just help them discover which program and campus met their passion, but we also focused on barriers to registration that have been impacted by COVID or life circumstances, which could be transportation, finances or other issues.”

Johnson said recruiters also worked to make sure the student was placed in the right program.

“Not just any program, but the one that best fits their skills and desires,” he said. “Our goal was to match, if not even beat, last year’s goals, and we did it even with all the challenges last year brought.”

These approaches led to a good recruiting session and a new way of reaching prospective students.

“As a result, our student recruitment representatives have become advocates for prospective students rather than salespeople,” Martin said. “Our fall enrollment is trending upward from both 2020 and 2019, and student readiness is improving as well.”

While visiting with students, Johnson also noticed a certain question being asked more often.

“One big change is that students are asking more about jobs that can withstand economic pressures,” he said. “They are also wanting a more one-on-one approach when it comes to preparing for college.”

Johnson said with new tools, recruiters will be working to reach out to prospective students even more.

“I think that virtual recruitment will be a tool we can use to enhance our efforts in the future, especially to reach those nontraditional students who might not be able to attend events,” he said. 

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