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How do I Become a College Recruiter?

By Tess C. Taylor
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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Thanks to the rise in virtual and distance learning modules with many colleges and universities, becoming a college recruiter is an exciting career option for any human resource professional. College recruiting is a rewarding career that allows you to work with people of all ages who have decided to head back to school to obtain advanced degrees and further their careers. Before considering this career, however, it’s important to understand the job duties as well as the requirements to become a college recruiter.

College recruiters encourage adult learners to enroll in the college programs of their choice. These recruiters are often required to travel extensively throughout their region to local schools to recruit potential students for college programs. In addition, college recruiters must have strong communication and interpersonal skills as well as a high level of perseverance as they work with candidates.

If you would like to become a college recruiter, there are many good ways to get started. A general requirement of college recruiting is to obtain a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university in the areas of business and human resources. In addition, having coursework or experience in marketing, promotions and computer technology are helpful foundations for any college recruiter to possess. The most successful college recruiters are those who are driven to succeed and have a wide range of industry experience before tackling this demanding career.

To become a college recruiter, it’s also important to take a careful inventory of the skills you have to determine if recruiting college students is something that you will enjoy. Recruiting takes a great deal of determination tempered with patience as candidates decide what to do. Having the ability to work closely with others to convince them that your program is the best while simultaneously respecting their values and needs is a balance that all good college recruiters must maintain.

Once you have the necessary education and experience and have determined that your personality meets with the demands of college recruiting, finding work is the next step. To become a college recruiter, the best places to start searching for a job are with colleges, universities and workforce recruiting organizations. In addition, companies that recruit a large number of new graduates often have opportunities for college recruiters to build rewarding careers in this industry.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Columurne — On Feb 26, 2014
I think this article is discussing only one kind of college recruiting, and frankly, a less common kind (though, one that may be indeed growing).

A traditional college recruiter is one who recruits for undergraduate and graduate programs and this not a "human resources" kind of role at all. In fact today's college recruiting environment has become much more about marketing, analytics, and digital media. Recruiters are looking to find students who may be a fit for their institution and use a variety of outreach tools to connect with them. Refer to the "admissions funnel" for more information on this.

As I said, recruiting has become much more about marketing and this is not an HR professional kind of role. Someone who can market programs, write well, speak well in front of groups, and analyze metrics can excel in today’s college recruiter role. As for breaking into the industry, it is very common to find graduates of that school stay on in the institutional community to work as recruiters; for example, they might have been work-study students in that very office and wanted to stay on post graduation.

However, this is certainly not to say it is the only prerequisite and you should certainly apply to jobs from schools that you did attend. Some background in education is helpful though these days more folks are coming into from private industry. In my opinion this can sometimes be a bit of a problem. Yes, a marketing background is helpful but you are not selling a car. An educational experience is something quite different and I think also having a background in education is helpful. It will allow you to better understand institutional goals and student needs. It also helps administrators have better working relationships with faculty. So if you are interested in transitioning from the corporate world into a college admissions recruiter role, or any higher education administrator role for that matter, I recommend taking a few higher education courses to get some grounding in the field.

Sometimes a master’s degree is required, though not always for a recruiting position which is pretty much an entry-level role. If you want to advance into an Assistant Director role and beyond, you typically need an advanced degree.

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