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What does a College Recruiter do?

By M.J. Brower
Updated: Mar 02, 2024

A college recruiter is a professional in a college or university who identifies prospective students and tries to convince them to apply for admission. They visit high schools, host recruitment fairs and other events, and contact students and their parents directly. Usually, they work with high school students, but recruiters in four-year schools might also recruit students from community colleges. They compile recruitment and admissions statistics, and analyze them to aid in effective recruiting. College recruiters usually work for the admissions office, but might work for an institutional division such as arts and sciences or engineering.

A college recruiter is typically expected to travel extensively. High school visits, or even visits to students' homes, might take a college recruiter anywhere from just down the road to across the country. Night and weekend work is nearly always required, because recruitment events often take place at sporting events or other activities at the college. Recruiters might go to these events in teams or alone.

College recruiters often work with other professionals to develop marketing campaigns and materials. They might coordinate with a public relations department to produce press releases, brochures, pamphlets, and posters to promote the college or university. They might work with an information technology or marketing department to contribute to the school's website; in some cases, they might do much of this work themselves.

A college recruiter might focus on recruiting students for a specific department within a college or university. A school with a strong performing arts program, for example, could have a recruiter who specializes in recruiting student musicians, actors, and dancers. Athletic departments often have their own recruiters. Large athletic programs might have recruiters dedicated to specific sports, although recruiting is often part of a coach's or an assistant coach's job.

A typical college recruiter is an outgoing person who enjoys working with young people and their parents. College recruiters usually have an aptitude for research, because they must be able to thoroughly research the high schools they are recruiting graduates from. They need to be able to find out the number of students graduating, data on test scores and overall college attendance, students from that high school who currently attend the recruiter's college — even how the basketball team's season is going. That research is often done by calling people and asking. College recruiters establish contacts in high schools who can help them identify potential students, and they reach out to alumni, administrators, and faculty to ask for help with recruiting.

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 starrynight — On Nov 23, 2011

I think the article is right in saying you would have to be a very outgoing person to seek college recruiter employment. I mean, imagine all the people you would have to talk to on a regular basis!

Obviously you would have to deal with your fellow employee. But, you would have to talk to a ton of high school students, and of course their parents, too. I imagine you would also have to interact with high school employees to set up recruiting fairs.

And this job isn't just about merely chatting with people-you're pretty much trying to sell them on whatever college you work for! That means you would have to knowledgeable and personable to work as a college recruiter.

By KaBoom — On Nov 23, 2011

@strawCake - Yeah, it seems that college marketing focuses on things other than just sports. However, I kind of don't get it. Most colleges get way more qualified applicants than they can accept. Why go out and actively recruit students when so many already apply?

Also, I wanted to point out that college recruiters can probably do a lot of their research online. These days you can find out just about anything you want on the Internet. I don't see why information about high schools and their attendance would be any different!

By strawCake — On Nov 22, 2011

Well, I never played any sports when I was in high school, so I never dealt with any kind of college sports recruiters. In fact, I think my only knowledge of college recruiters comes from the movies! It seems in every high school movie where a main characters plays a sport, they want to do well at "the big game" because a recruiter is going to be there.

Until I read this article, I had no idea that college recruiters recruited for actual academic departments. I thought it was only a sports thing!

By Mykol — On Nov 21, 2011

I think there is a fine line between a college recruiter who is personable and persuasive, and one who is pushy and annoying.

I knew I would be attending college on an athletic scholarship, and one college athletic recruiter simply would not leave me alone.

This really left a bad taste in my mouth, and was one of the biggest reasons I ended up choosing another college.

It is good to look at all the advantages and options, but being too aggressive can have the opposite effect of what you are hoping for.

By golf07 — On Nov 21, 2011

A college recruiter played a big role in where my daughter ended up going to college. She was looking at several different colleges, and had the choice narrowed down to three.

When she visited one college campus that was recruiting her, the college recruiter really went out of his way to make her feel welcome.

This made an impression on her, and that is the college where she eventually ended up going. When a lot of variables are about the same, something like the personality of the recruiter really can make a difference one way or another.

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