Recruitment Strategy for Eighth Grade Students

Posted on Categories Recruitment and Retention

At a Glance

Administrators at Somerset County Technology Center expanded their recruitment efforts to reach eighth grade students. 


In 2014-15, Somerset County Technology Center (SCTC) launched a new, expanded recruitment effort focused on introducing career technical education (CTE) and the CTE programs available at SCTC to eighth grade students in the local sending districts. Previously, the recruitment efforts began in ninth grade. 

On the first day of school at SCTC, the Assistant Administrator presents to the current students a theme for the year. The presentation is done using Prezi, YouTube, music, a photo scavenger hunt with prizes, and tickets. The theme and tickets help promote a character initiative program which began during 2012-13 school year.

This presentation is then used for the eighth grade student visits and tours, which take place during the spring semester. Eighth grade students from each of the SCTC’s eight sending district are brought to SCTC. The Assistant Administrator conducts the presentation followed by a building tour. Currently, tours are conducted by staff members of the SCTC Activities/Recruitment Committee. This committee was formed in the 2012-13 school year to involve staff in school initiatives. Discussion continues to be on-going for how to effectively involve current SCTC students with the tours ninth grade experiences.

Following the tour, students reconvene as a group and the Assistant Administrator shares pre-written questions on a beach ball. The visiting students are asked questions and earn SCTC prizes (t-shirts, cups, key chains etc.) The questions include:

  • Do SCTC students go to college?
  • When is the end of year carnival and car cruise?
  • What does SCTC stand for?
  • What was your favorite program area?
  • How many programs does SCTC have for high school students?
  • Name one of the six student organizations?

At the conclusion of the tour, students learn about the opportunity to return to SCTC the following year for the ninth grade experience. The goal of ninth grade experience is to give the students who are interested in attending SCTC a closer look at two programs to help guide their decision in selecting their first and second choices. During this day-long program, students are immersed in the programs as much as possible.

As ninth graders, students who wish to participate in the ninth grade experience need to obtain and fill out a form from their guidance counselor in which they select their top two program choices. SCTC’s guidance counselor then works with the sending district guidance counselors to schedule the ninth grade experiences for the fall of the students’ ninth grade year.

Origin / Implementation

SCTC’s expanded recruitment program includes an eighth grade tour and a ninth grade experience. The goal of this new initiative is to create current, engaging, and meaningful experiences to help recruit the right students in the right programs. In addition, eighth grade students need to take the proper academic scope and sequence at their sending district in their ninth grade year to be on track to attend SCTC as a 10th grade student. By exposing eighth grade students to the opportunities available at SCTC, they can plan their academic coursework with their chosen CTE program in mind.

The discussion for these changes began in the 2012-13 school year with full implementation in the 2014-15 school year. This change was facilitated by the sending district guidance counselors, who felt that the previous structure of starting with tours in ninth grade was exposing the students to the CTE too late for students to make an informed decision.

The Assistant Administrator developed an SCTC packet and presentation. This presentation was conducted at the sending district guidance counselor’s monthly meeting.

Results / Impact

Administrators report an increase in enrollment by grade since the implementation of this recruitment effort and the earlier exposure to CTE. 


Somerset County Technology Center
Lynn Clement, Assistant Administrator

Supporting Resources

SCTC Theme for the Year Presentation

Supporting Files