Changes in grad school recruitment


Josh Archote/The Lion's Roar

Graduate school recruitment for the Masters in Organizational Communication program will now take place exclusively through its social media platforms for the Fall 2020 semester.

The closure of campus and transition to online classes has led the Department of Communication and Media Studies to rethink its grad school recruitment strategy for students looking to enroll in the summer or fall of 2020.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, virtual graduate school recruitment for the department’s Masters in Organizational Communication program will take place exclusively through its social media platforms.

Elizabeth Hornsby, the graduate coordinator for the program, explained that the recruitment efforts will take place in the form of a targeted social media campaign beginning after spring break.

“The recruitment campaign will feature brief informative social media posts to help guide potential applicants through the admissions process, answer frequently asked questions and highlight interesting program events and opportunities,” said Hornsby. “The goal is to spark interest and start a conversation with potential applicants about the program and the admissions process.”

Despite the forced transition to online classes, the department was already in the process of changing its master’s degree to a completely online program.

James O’Connor, department head of communication and media studies, explained that the transition to online recruitment was an inevitability even before campus closed.




“It’s different, but it’s the way it has to be done because if we’re basically designing a program that’s a master’s degree that can be achieved virtually, then we have to be able to transition to virtual recruitment,” said O’Connor. “What’s going on is really this pandemic is forcing our hand to go virtual with recruitment.”

O’Connor went on to explain that the application process itself will not be much different from previous semesters.

“Honestly, for the master’s degree, it’s not gonna be that much different,” explained O’Connor. “Because a lot of recruitment is done via inquiries; people will look at the website, they’re looking around for a master’s degree, and they’ll inquire. They will reach out to our graduate coordinator or myself via email, and then they’ll follow up by telephone call.”

Given the unusual circumstances, Hornsby explained some challenges that may lie ahead for the department’s plan.

“Right now, people are experiencing digital information overload,” said Hornsby. “With that in mind, a big challenge will be streamlining the information and presenting it clearly and concisely and disseminating it in the most strategic and effective way.”

Hornsby commented on what information students interested in the program need to provide in their application after they have inquired.

“Official transcripts, proof of immunization, and GRE scores,” said Hornsby. “However, given the circumstances concerning COVID-19, it might not be feasible to take the GRE right now. If that is the case, potential applicants would need to contact me to discuss how to move forward. The university is waiving application fees for the month of April, so it is a great time to apply and save a little money!”

As the university continues to make adjustments, the communication department has adapted to the changes brought on by the pandemic by transitioning graduate school recruitment into an online format.