The recruitment of underrepresented minority students to graduate programs can be daunting, especially in disciplines where pools of qualified students may be small. However, you can increase your chances of finding qualified applicants by following the best practices for recruiting, planning your efforts and meeting deadlines for conferences, funding announcements and awards and by establishing and maintaining regular contact with your prospective students.

Once your department has identified which prospective students would be a good fit and the students have been admitted to the University, make multiple personal contacts by:

  • calling or emailing the prospective students,
  • sponsoring campus visits and
  • arranging for the students to meet with faculty, as well as peer recruiters

Keep in mind that prospective students want to feel connected to their programs of interest and that establishing this linkage is paramount. Recruiters should contact prospective students one to two times before admission and two to three times after admission by a graduate program advisor, faculty member, graduate student, or combination thereof.

While a competitive funding package is indispensable, never underestimate the value of personal contact.

Helpful recruiting resources:

  • Coordinate visits with GSEE’s Prospective Student Days events. These events are designed to enhance departmental activities and provide prospective students with a sense of community among graduate students across UW departments and disciplines.
  • If prospective student visits do not coincide with Prospective Student Days, arrange for them to meet with one of GSEE’s Outreaching Grads (OGs) for lunch or coffee, or invite a recruiter to speak with them.
  • Notify students of their admissions as early as possible. Prospective students are more likely to say yes to an early admission offer.
  • A faculty member and a graduate student should contact each admitted student personally to congratulate him or her and encourage him or her to consider the UW. This will give you with an opportunity to provide additional information to individual students.
  • Host prospective students. Set aside funding for campus visits, encourage early visits, assign a student host for each prospective student while he or she is on campus and have a faculty member follow up with personal contact.
  • Use fellowships to enhance diversity in your program. Leverage multi-year packages and/or top-off awards. Employ funding from interdisciplinary programs that complement a student’s interests, an approach used by the West Coast Poverty Center, Science Technology Centers, and NASA Space Grant. Or take advantage of NSF and NIH training grants as supplemental funding.
  • Diversify your faculty through direct hiring or adjunct appointments. Faculty of color can help attract minority and underrepresented minority students to your department.