High School Recruitment Step 1: Research

Follow Our 5-Step High School Recruitment Strategy

If you want to develop stronger relationships to boost your high school recruitment, you first need to know exactly who it is you want to reach. And that’s exactly where we begin with our 5-step high school recruitment strategy: research.

Getting to know your ideal audience as much as you can is the surest way to ensure your school’s message finds them.

Know the Schools

For each of your campuses, consider the secondary schools in the surrounding area. Here are some good questions to ask: How many high schools are nearby? Are they public or private schools? Are they part of a single school district or are there several? Are there nontraditional high schools or courses, such as academy, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), CTE (career and technical education), or dual credit programs?

Schools like yours are in an ideal position to act as a bridge between high school seniors and recent graduates—the untrained workforce—and employers.

Know the Students

We know how important relationship-building already is to your school. Just as you cultivate relationships with industry partners to find out what they’re looking for in new hires and what industry trends are relevant, it’s just as important that you bring that same focused commitment to your prospective students, too.

Today’s juniors and seniors in high school are part of Gen Z, currently aged between 16 and 18. And with more than three in four of all American high school students taking at least one CTE course during their schooling—and more than one in three students taking two or more CTE courses—many high schoolers may be interested in hearing about your postsecondary programs.

What are the demographics of your area’s high school population? Are there a lot of would-be first-generation college students who could benefit from added decision-making support around their postsecondary plans? Are there high levels of participation in student-led organizations like SkillsUSA, DECA, or FFA? Which of your programs are most likely to be a great fit for the students in your area?

Know the Counselors

Now that you know a little bit more about who your prospective students are, it’s just as important to know who their influencers are—not their social media influencers, necessarily, but their education influencers. Most high school students will have more conversations than they might want with parents, teachers, counselors, and others interested in their future education.

What to think about: Who are the right people in your neighborhood schools to talk to? Who can help you arrange an in-school visit, participation in school and job fairs, or dual credit programs? Who can you share valuable resources with, such as the Imagine America Foundation’s popular podcasts, blog posts, webinars, and more?

About the 5-Step Recruitment Strategy

For more than twenty years, the Imagine America Foundation has been helping students get the hands-on training they need to start a new career. Now, that includes sharing valuable advice for schools who want to improve their high school recruitment strategy—and to reach the prospective students in their area who will most benefit from their programs.

Step 1: Do Your Research

Step 2: Establish Partnerships

Step 3: Maintain Relationships

Step 4: Differentiate Your School

Step 5: Sponsor Events

Ready to learn more about how the Imagine America Foundation can help your school start or enhance its high school recruitment efforts? Get in touch with me today!

Lee Doubleday

Phone: 571.267.3015

Email: leed@imagine-america.org