Saturday, August 15, 2009

Recruiting for college

Every AG college had a young recruitment booth at General Council last week. Most looked like they were designed by middle-aged promotional staff. The magnet for young and old was an internet cafe set up by a young team, complete with internet hookup and computers. Students are used to virtual spaces, where art and marketing imitates life. That got me thinking.

Target market? High schoolers looking for colleges. And their parents, who want them in a safe but stimulating environment where they will want to learn, explore career options, and have a well-rounded social life.

I remember arriving at college, meeting my roommate, and inspecting my dorm room. It was exciting to put up posters, decorate the space, and set up my dresser and desk. My roommie and I moved stuff around to make it "ours." So... what would a recruiter's booth look like if it gave students the feeling of living in a great dorm room on campus, instead of cramming a booth with industrial promotional displays?


  • Tall IKEA loft bed with linens in college colors
  • Slide a desk under, topped by a lamp with a custom shade, computer monitor showing college website or slides, and a few textbooks. Prop a few PATRIK chairs close by for visitors and recruiters to hang out
  • Use an open wardrobe to hang T-shirts with the names of all the degree majors and minors available at the school (Medicine: nursing, pre-med; Communications: debate, media; Science: environmental, physics, chemistry...) Put the college website on each shirt. Draw from pre-applications for T-Shirt giveaways on the last day of the convention. That way you'd see prospective students at least twice!
  • Put texts on a BILLY bookcase labeled by school: Arts & Sciences, College of Ministry, Graduate Psychology, or Nursing/Pre-Med
  • Add seating with a comfy BEDDINGE sofa/sofabed or two, slipcovered in college colors
  • Hang posters of college sports teams, music bands, and college kids having fun together
  • Scatter college memorabilia, sports paraphernalia, and a stuffed mascot (like our NU eagle). Lean a saxophone in the corner to advertise the jazz band.
  • Skip the ugly convention carpet for 2' round non-skid rugs in bright college colors.
  • Accessorize with funky trays to hold literature and a laundry hamper to confine giveaways or sports gear
Promote your college's social concern: arrange in advance to donate the furniture to a women's shelter or teen center like Teen Challenge instead of disassembling and packing it home. Let the organization's volunteers come by to pick it up!

Cost: probably a lot cheaper than renting convention center furniture and equipment! (typical rental: rug $250 plus installation, sofa or chairs $100-800 each, plus media gear, etc.)

Botttom line: target your market by introducing kids to YOUR college as their ideal home for the next four years, doing good for others (a shelter) while standing out in the crowd of other eager recruiters... without spending a fortune.

Just another idea off the top of my head.


  1. Sounds like a great idea to me!

  2. this is a truly great idea... i can see it. a completely operational space as well. make coffee, take a nap, do some good reading, look in the fridge, munch on some ramen noodles...