By Ethan Penland, Director of Admissions Services
4 minute read
A few months ago I was asked by a regional counselor to offer some tips on regional recruitment and how to be successful.
I thought it was a great idea, and to make it even better I decided I would also reach out to a few of my colleagues from around the country who had a variety of experiences with regional recruitment at an array of different institutions.
Whether you’re currently a regional counselor, transitioning into a regional role, or if you’re leading individuals or a team of regional counselors, here are a few perspectives that my friends shared about their regional recruitment experiences, plus some tips on how to be successful in your role.
“By having a regional, the school is saying they’re investing your community.” – Regional counselor who has recruited for both a private and a public institution
As a regional counselor, your responsibility is to not only strive to meet your goals but you are now an extension of the community you’re recruiting. Find ways to get involved in that community. Be present within the schools and events, and recruit beyond the boundaries of your institution because, as the quote references, you are investing in your community and no longer just recruiting for your institution.
“You are the recruiter AND you are the university.” – Regional counselor recruiting for a private university in the Pacific Northwest
While some territory managers have the luxury to be close to campus and have their prospective students visit the campus, regional counselors have a different experience. That’s why you need to understand that the only experience a student could have with your institution is through you. So, with this in mind, being your best brand, being the best resource, and providing the best possible experience for your students can, and will, embody what they should expect if they decide to choose your institution.
“If you’re not networking, you’re not working.” – Regional counselor who recruits for a flagship institution in the South
As a regional, especially if this is your first go at it, you need to be willing to network. Sure, those admission counselors at the college fair are trying to recruit the same students that you are, but they’re not your competition. They’re actually your best resources. At the end of the day, you all are trying to help students go to college, so collaborate with them to find ways to not only discover innovative ways to recruit and be a resource in your territory but to have a sense of connection. If you haven’t done so, look in your local area to find out if there is a regional counselor network for you to participate in.
“Regional recruitment is not cookie cutter.” – Regional counselor who recruits for a large university in the West
Many times, leadership will have the same expectations for how recruitment initiatives look for all territory managers. What I found through these conversations is that regional counselors need to be vocal if certain recruitment initiatives aren’t working for their territories. That said, you need to be creative and really think about the community you are in and what they really need in order for you to effectively recruit. Come ready with solutions and don’t wait for leadership to find the answers, especially when you are the “expert” of your territory.
“Establish the expectations early with leadership.” – A professional who recently transitioned out of regional recruitment but had recruited for multiple public colleges and universities.
Whether you are new, leadership is new, or you have been doing this for years, you need to set new expectations for yourself, your involvement on campus, and contributions from afar. There is a misconception by a lot of people who work on campuses that regional counselors do not work as much as others. Of course, that is false, but by setting expectations with your leadership, you can get a clearer picture of how and when you need to contribute to in-office duties when you are back on campus, support duties that may involve virtual initiatives, and also how you need to best prioritize or spend your time with your own recruitment outreach and initiatives. Autonomy is a fantastic aspect of being regional, but having expectations as a framework is a big key to having a successful year.
I hope you find value in these perspectives from other counselors, even if you’re not a regional counselor.
Lastly, if you’re in a position of leadership, I encourage you to take note of what has been shared and work to be the best advocate for your regional recruitment staff.
If you found this to be helpful and believe someone else could, too, pass it on! If you would like to have a broader discussion on some of these points or any that were not mentioned, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to start that conversation.