Volume 54(3) - 2013 - DOI: 10.5032/jae.2013.03054



Agriculture continues to struggle to find enough qualified students to advance the industry. Thus, recruit-ing practice improvement is imperative. This study assessed the efficacy of message strategies, message channels, recruiting materials, and messages for recruiting students into an academic program with low enrollment. Focus groups were conducted with agriculture students outside of the department of interest to address the following objectives: 1) identify the most effective message strategies and message channels to reach and attract potential students, and 2) conduct testing of strategically developed recruitment materials and messages. Results indicated job stability and positive contextual messages would be effective for recruiting. Participants preferred messages delivered in person, targeted online advertisements, and campus publications. Additionally, findings showed participants wanted full-color materials with pictures; messages with statistics on the industry; online videos that are 1-2 minutes, with videos on a website based on user interest; and testimonials from a range of individuals in the industry. Participants were mixed on the perceived effectiveness of Facebook advertisements. The results of this study indicate an increased need to target recruitment efforts through a strategic communication process. This research has implications for recruiting the millennial generation using both gain and non-loss framed messages.

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