UC Davis students at outreach event

Outreach and Recruitment

First Impressions Matter

The quality of a graduate program depends, in part, on having a group of intellectually talented, highly motivated, and well-prepared students from diverse backgrounds. The purpose of outreach and recruitment is to make the quality of UC Davis’ programs and faculty known to a greater and more diverse number of qualified potential graduate students — to increase the number and diversity of applications in order to ensure that top ranked applicants select UC Davis for their graduate studies.

Best Practices in Graduate Student Recruitment

Research and Benchmarking

Graduate Studies encourages graduate program faculty and staff to become familiar with documented best practices in graduate student recruitment. The following research reports address recruitment best practices, both broadly and specifically to prospective graduate student audiences.

Tips from Graduate Studies

  • Develop strategies for the full admissions funnel.
  • Don't wait until prospective students apply to begin recruiting! Invest in efforts to attract inquiries and grow and shape the applicant pool. Consider traditional strategies such as tabling at grad school fairs, feeder institution visits, and GRE/GMAT name buys. Most importantly, pay special attention to your website and it's content.

     Focus your efforts on strategies that will help move prospective students through the admission funnel - from inquiry to applicant, applicant to admit, admit to SIR and so on. Use the graduate program data reports developed by Graduate Studies to gain a firm understanding of your program's unique recruitment strengths and opportunities for improvement. 
  • Address graduate students’ priorities on your website and in print materials.
  • Prospective graduate students consistently indicate three key priorities—the quality of the program, the cost/affordability, and the pathway or career available. Be sure to highlight your faculty's research expertise as well as student career successes on your website. Don't just list it out - update your website consistently with stories and profiles of your faculty, students, postdoctoral scholars, and alumni and contact the Graduate Studies Marketing and Communications team to promote it broadly. 
  • Invest time and effort in strategies that work.
  • While it's tempting to invest your limited recruitment funds in glossy print publications, social media advertising, or conference travel, pay close attention to the practices that work. There are clear “best practices”—from campus visits for prospective students to web pages for international candidates to phone calls placed to admitted students—that contribute to enrollment success. Carefully track the source of your applicants and invest in the strategies that enable you to reach and recruit students that enroll. 
  • Be up front with information about funding and financial support. 
  • These days, prospective graduate students are often wary about making an investment in their graduate education. Be clear about the costs and funding opportunities associated with your program, and connect them to financial support information early and often.
  • Use technology to build relationships and improve the prospective student experience.
  • Digital communication platforms (such as the website, social media channels, and email systems) should be used to start a conversation rather than broadcast one-way messaging. Make sure that your website makes it easy for prospective students to find information, contact graduate program coordinators, and apply on the Graduate Studies website.

    Graduate program staff are encouraged to monitor the status of applications using Slate.

Partner with Graduate Studies

Brochures and Print Publications

Graduate Studies is reducing its investment in print publications. However, we contribute to and host a number of publications in digital formats. We recommend pointing prospective students toward the UC What's Next? brochure, a UC-wide graduate studies publication that includes information on the different campuses, graduate programs, application processes, and funding opportunities. A select number of printed What's Next? brochures are also available through Graduate Studies. 

Graduate School Fairs, Conferences and Consortia

As part of a centralized outreach and recruiting effort, Graduate Studies sends representatives to numerous information fairs at California State University campuses, as well as sister UC campuses. Additionally, Graduate Studies frequently participates in a number of consortia and attends conferences that permit identification and recruitment of a diverse pool of students. Faculty members are welcome to accompany Graduate Studies staff to these events. For information about Graduate Studies' recruitment travel schedule, contact the Admissions and Outreach team.