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PS&L’s Super Recruiter Conference Answers Training Need for Higher Ed’s Most Valuable Assets

Higher education marketing is more competitive than ever. But no matter how hard colleges and universities work to engage prospective students through ambitious strategies, it’s ultimately the job of the admissions recruiter to secure the institution’s applicant pool. And oftentimes, those recruiters are left without adequate training.

According to Jim Paskill, president of higher education enrollment marketing firm Paskill Stapleton & Lord (PS&L), universities entrust admissions officers with the sales of their multi-million dollar business, but more often than not these young professionals aren’t supported with the sales and communications development to be as effective as possible.

“The schools that understand the importance of their recruiters make a point to invest in their most valuable asset, their people,” he says. “Recruiters are representing the entire university when they have one-to-one communication with students, but that’s where some schools are dropping the ball.”

Now in its second year, The Making of a Super Recruiter is a Philadelphia-based summer conference, sponsored by PS&L that answers the need for these highly valuable university employees to get hands-on training and professional development skills before the start of the fall cycle.

In 2017, 43 admissions recruiters representing 23 different institutions nationwide attended the Super Recruiter conference, where Kimberly Buster-Williams, vice president of enrollment management from the University of Mary Washington, delivered an inspiring keynote address about the recruitment profession.

Dave Black, vice president of consulting and market research at PS&L, developed the conference after observing an industry trend of early-career admissions officers surviving a first year in higher education then confronting professional burn-out.

“We saw those promising admissions reps that made it through their first year, not really getting the professional development they needed,” says Black, who has more than 25 years of experience in higher education marketing and staff development. “Too many young recruiters were leaving higher ed after two to three years, because they didn’t see the career options open to them. They made it through the first year, learned the systems, process, and reporting, but in year two they sometimes lacked ongoing training as the department focus turned to the next new group of counselors.”

Attendees from the 2017 Super Recruiter conference shared highly favorable feedback of their two-day experience, from ‘fantastic speakers’ to ‘loved the materials’ to ‘great location.’

Breanna Hall of Montana Tech of the University of Montana was especially smitten with Super Recruiter. “I can say in all honesty, this is one of the best conferences I’ve been to. It wasn’t dry and mundane. I found it energizing.”

Super Recruiter 2018 is scheduled for July 12-13 at the Marriott Courtyard Downtown, located at 21 North Juniper Street in Philadelphia. For more information and to register, visit psandl.com/super.

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Cathy Donovan,

A higher education professional with more than a decade serving in various communications roles at a Big 10 university. At PS&L, Cathy is busy implementing a marketing plan to promote the company’s visibility and various offerings, from training workshops to assessment services to our annual conference, through trade shows, email marketing, and digital strategy. Cathy also manages psandl.com, social media efforts, and agency publications. She can be reached at cdonovan@psandl.com.