Faces to Facebook: Recruiters adjust
By RANDY GONZALES
Face-to-face is still the most important tool when Fort Hays State University admissions counselors first meet prospective students.
But Facebook has become just as important when following up with high school seniors in the age of social media.
"The initial contact, there's nothing better than face-to-face contact, getting to know somebody," said Angela Delzeit, who is starting her fifth year as an admissions counselor for Fort Hays State University. "But I do think that follow-up aspect of things, I think Facebook is definitely probably how it's going to go."
Things were different just a few years ago, when Tricia Cline, FHSU's director of admissions, was recruiting, from 1999 to 2005. Now, each recruiter has an individual FHSU Facebook page and a Twitter account.
"That's something that's changed since I've been a recruiter," Cline said. "Email was a new thing then.
"Now, it's getting into Facebook, Twitter, texting, all the social media," she added. "For the follow-up part, it totally changes the ball game."
Still, Cline has 10 counselors hitting the road during the school year. She has nine counselors with an assigned area, and another multicultural counselor who goes where needed. Counselors hit Kansas -- especially western Kansas -- hard, but also go to parts of Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.
Delzeit, who graduated from Hays High School and FHSU, is assigned to southwest Kansas and Ellis County.
The office sets an overall goal for recruiting and individual goals for each recruiter. The office looks at what the area has produced during the past 10 years to help determine the goal.
That's not a problem for Delzeit, a former Tiger cheerleader who is a people person anyway.
"Every year we try to set goals for ourselves to try to bring in more students," she said. "I am a very competitive person, so I'm very driven to try to get more students to come to Fort Hays."
For the first time, FHSU will put two recruiters in Colorado this year. Wichita has been big for FHSU, and Cline has a recruiter live there, as does her recruiter for the Texas area.
"I expect big things out of Texas and Colorado," Cline said. "I think those are just going to grow and be huge for us."
Wherever they go, whoever they meet, recruiters likely will see potential students first face-to-face, then keep in touch through social media -- whatever that might be in the coming years, Cline said.
"I'm sure there's going to be new social media we're going to have to learn and figure out," she said with a laugh.