As I travel around the country consulting with campuses, more and more institutions ask for my recommendations for recruiting graduate and professional students. For graduate programs at comprehensive/research institutions, this tends to reflect a shift in thinking toward a more unified recruitment approach, as marketing and recruitment efforts have traditionally been decentralized and driven by individual schools or campus departments. For other graduate programs, such as stand-alone business schools, chiropractic schools, seminaries, and graduate/professional programs that are not part of a university, the desire to strengthen recruiting reflects an increased push on campuses to apply the more forceful levels of undergraduate recruitment to the art and science of enrollment management at the graduate level.
For both types of institutions, my observation is that graduate recruitment is often not handled with an optimal level of direction, efficiency, and precision, making it a much more uneven process than undergraduate admissions. The problems I see fall into ten issues that affect everything from planning to marketing to financial aid. I’ll examine the first five in this post and the other five in a follow-up post.