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Recruiting Students

Honors programs and colleges exist in a world in which the flood of information, the multitude of choices, and the claims of advertising may easily overwhelm any of us. Today, students approaching high school graduation, especially those with high test scores and superior academic records, are inundated by recruitment letters, college view books, scholarship promises, and invitations for campus visitations. Because Honors adds an additional level of selection to the college and university admissions process, recruitment has become an important activity for most Honors programs and colleges.

Honors education differentiates itself from conventional undergraduate education, and prospective students and their parents want -and need-to have these differences clarified. For both our prospective students and their parents, the question "Why should I choose Honors?" is just as important as "Why should I choose your college or university?" Although most high school students have a general idea about college programs, their understanding of college honors courses can often be uninformed or mistaken. Moreover, since one of the goals of Honors programs is to attract highly qualified students to their campus, an effective recruitment program is a way of achieving their mission.

Successful recruitment programs present and promote Honors on their campus in the following ways:

  • College view book materials that use text and photos highlighting Honors activities and students. Some Honors programs and colleges publish their own Honors view book.
  • Website information. Both the college’s website and the Honors homepage are increasingly important in the selection process. You may find it helpful to list your NCHC membership on your website and provide a link to
  • Letters, accompanied by brochures and other informative materials, encouraging qualified students to apply for Honors.
  • A campus visitation program for prospective Honors Students, either held separately, or as a part of your campus’s scheduled visitation program. If you want to find a good model for campus visitations, ask your college’s athletics director what they do.
  • Specific examples of your students’ successes. These bring the nature and quality of your program down to earth. Don’t forget that your admissions office, the campus website, even your President and other administrative officers, are often eager to use stories and photos of student successes provided by Honors,
  • Student Involvement in recruitment activities. Your current Honors students, in all their diversity, are the best advertisements you can find for your program. They speak a common language with prospective students, have similar concerns, and above all function as models for what students in your program or college can become.
  • Specific recruitment activities and materials that demonstrate the nature of your program as well as describe it. For example, if the program or college emphasizes individual attention and development, close student involvement with faculty, and a relaxed collegial atmosphere, you can incorporate personalized communications, strong faculty participation, and informal activities for prospective students into your recruitment activities.

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National Collegiate Honors Council
1100 Neihardt Residence Center
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
540 North 16th St.
Lincoln, Nebraska

Tel: 402-472-9150
Fax: 402-472-9152


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