Recruiting students can be a complicated, time-consuming, and even overwhelming process that takes attention, organization, and preparation. Recruitment is just the first step in a holistic approach to bringing talent to our graduate programs and diversifying our graduate student body.
Anytime is a great time to start laying the foundation needed to identify students for your academic program. Our hope is this toolkit will provide you with invaluable information about identifying, recruiting, enrolling, and ultimately mentoring underrepresented students.
This web page will assist programs and departments in recruiting racially and ethnically diverse students and disadvantaged and/or first-generation college students. Recruitment starts before you meet applicants; it begins when you develop an enrollment management plan that promotes inclusive excellence in your student body and among your faculty.
The first step is to look at the Inclusive Excellence Framework, and:
a) Assess the current composition of your student body, faculty, and staff. Assess your current practices in light of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Develop objectives and strategies to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion.
b) Assess the opportunities for your students, faculty, and staff to access professional development opportunities in diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. Create a culture that encourages and supports students, faculty, and staff to attend those events.
c) Assess your program/department engagement with COMO’s community leaders and population that empower and create access to an inclusive and diverse dialogue between the community and your program/department. Develop ways to engage with the community in a meaningful way.
As you create the foundation for diversity and inclusion, consider the five phases of the recruitment continuum:
- Potential graduate students: undergraduate students, recently graduated students, individuals with master’s degrees or specialist degrees. They may be underrepresented in your field or first-generation college students and have the potential to be our graduate students. They have not interacted with you yet, but you would like to reach out to them.
- Be prepared to convey: why pursue a graduate degree, what you can offer, who you are looking for, and potential career outcomes.
- Suggested venues for recruitment are Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), Minority Serving Institutions (MSI), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI), and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU).
- Prospective graduate students: these are potential graduate students with whom you have made contact during recruitment engagements, faculty visits to other institutions, faculty, and staff interactions that led to a discussion about graduate education. They may be underrepresented in your field or are first-generation college students who are unsure of or started to explore graduate education.
- Be prepared to convey: why pursue a graduate degree, how to apply for a graduate degree at Mizzou, what you are looking for in a student, and funding options.
- Identify some key people, show what you can offer – specifics on the program, data on inclusive excellence – and connect them with current graduate students.
- Applicant: these are prospective graduate students who expressed a solid interest in your graduate program and began applying. They may be underrepresented in your field or first-generation college students who may not have all the information needed to smoothly navigate the application process.
- Be prepared to convey: information on how to use our application system, information about the city of Columbia pertinent to their interests, information about opportunities for family members to study, work, or live in Columbia, and information relevant to their family situation like childcare.
- Connect them with resources on campus – including graduate students and inclusive excellence initiatives, provide clear information on funding options, and be transparent about the admissions process.
- Admitted students: these are students who you admitted. they may be underrepresented in your field or first-generation college students who have successfully been admitted to your program but have not committed to coming.
- Be prepared to provide them with information about campus resources – professional development, graduate student groups and governance, housing, etc.; consider identifying a peer-mentor for their first year in the program.
- Connect them with information on job opportunities for family members and the Division of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity, and the Graduate School’s Center for Inclusive Excellence in Graduate Education.
- Enrolled graduate students: these are students who decide to enroll in your program. They may be underrepresented in your field or first-generation college students who have decided to come to Mizzou. They will face different challenges and struggles than other graduate students. Recruitment is connected with retention; therefore, you must:
- Be prepared to provide culturally appropriate mentoring, information about resources supporting well-being, self-efficacy, community-building, and inclusive scholarship.
Inclusion-focused Recruitment Conferences
This section will provide information on inclusion-focused recruitment conferences. However, we would like to encourage you to consider that every interaction with an individual who has not yet earned an advanced degree is an opportunity for recruitment. Faculty should always bring prospective students information to any professional activity that puts them in contact with potential graduate students.
The following list is of suggested conferences during the calendar year.
- American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) October 19-21, 2023 – Spokane, WA
- Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) November 15-18, 2023 – Phoenix, AZ
- The California Forum for Diversity in Graduate Education TBD
- Field of Dreams Conference November 3-5, 2023 – Atlanta, GA
- Florida A & M Feeder Conference September – Tallahassee, Florida
- MKN McNair Heartland Research Conference September 23-25, 2022 – In-Person, Kansas City, MO
- The National GEM Consortium September 14-16, 2023 – Philadelphia, PA
- National Institutes of Health Graduate and Professional School Fair July 19, 2023 – Washington, DC.
- National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) September 11-14, 2023 – New Orleans, LA
- National Science Foundation Emerging Researchers National Conference (ERN) February TBD, 2024 – Washington D.C.
- National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE) March 22-26, 2023 – Kansas City, MO
- SAEOPP McNair Research Conference January/Feb TBD – TBD
- Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) October 26-28, 2023 – Portland, OR
- University of New Mexico McNair Research Conference September 6-7 – Albuquerque, NM
In addition to conferences, consider developing a relationship with Minority Serving Institutions (MSI). We compiled a Recruitment at MSIs in and around Missouri.
We have access to a few databases to help support recruitment. Those are the National Name Exchange, the McNair Scholars Directory, and The National GEM Consortium. For the first two, you can request access to a list of names that you can reach out and cultivate potential graduate students for your program. The last one, prospective graduate students select Mizzou as one of their choices, and you can cultivate that relationship.
Read more about the databases in the Inclusion & Recruitment Resources.
Resources for Recruitment and Retention
CIE has curated resources from other institutions that can be shared, best practices in graduate recruitment and retention.
Academic Strategic Toolkit (University of California – Berkeley)
Best Practices in Graduate Student Recruiting and Marketing (Hanover Research Report)
Best Practices for Program Websites (Rackham Graduate School – University of Michigan)
North Dakota State University Recruitment Toolkit (Includes a Program PowerPoint Presentation Template at the bottom of the page)
Pathways to Science Resource Library (Resources for students applying to graduate school and for faculty interested in diversifying their student body)
University of Washington Graduate School Toolkit (see examples of handouts for recruitment under Toolkit tab)
Directors of Graduate School can visit Canvas for more resources on recruitment. Not enrolled? Learn How.Visit Canvas For More Information
- Using Noncognitive Variables in Assessing Readiness for Higher Education. By Willliam E. Sedlacek
- Holistic Review in Graduate Admissions: A report from the Council of Graduate Schools
- Holistic Review of Applications for Admission to Graduate Degree Programs (Rackham Graduate School at the University of Michigan)
- Navigating Holistic Admissions for a Stronger Graduate Program (ETS)
- Equity in Graduate Education – Resources