Recruit and Enroll Students

Why Recruit Students?

You may be one of the fortunate teachers in 23 states of the US, Australia, Israel, or the United Kingdom where computer science either counts as an elective or is a required part of the curriculum. If so, students have a graduation incentive to take computer science. Even so, the gender and ethnic composition of non-required courses may not reflect your school’s general population. It’s important for many reasons (jobs, better technology, more productive workforce) to have all kinds of students interested in computer science.

Presentation by Joanne McGrath Cohoon

Dr. Cohoon prepared a slide presentation specifically for this course and they include great information and strategies – grounded in research – for recruiting students.

Joanne McGrath Cohoon is an NCWIT Senior Research Scientist and Research Associate Professor, Science, Technology, and Society at the University of Virginia who researches, publishes, and speaks on women’s under-representation in IT and gender segregation in higher education. She has organized and led the Tapestry Workshops, which share strategies, research-based practices, and field-tested good ideas for teaching computer science in a way that reaches all students regardless of sex or ethnicity.


One Teacher’s Story: Seth Reichelson

Brief Version (~5 minutes)
Detailed Version (~50 minutes)

What Steps Can You Take?

Change the Gender Composition of High School Computing Courses (Case Study 2): Attracting Female and Minority Students through Targeted Recruiting

Here is a checklist from the above resource, identifying considerations for recruiting:

  • Audience

    Target audience – who are the students you are trying to reach?
    Opinion leaders – who leads trends at your site?
    Influencers – who influences your audience (teachers, counselors, parents)?
  • Message

    Needs, goals, interests of target sector
    Challenging wisdom of typical choices

    Truth in advertising – be up front about what your course offers
  • Method of Delivery

    Medium, multiple media

    Contact situation – are you meeting them at an open house, after class, etc.?
    Deliverer – who is the best person to deliver the message? a student? a parent?
  • Leveraging & Building Relationships

    Existing efforts, contacts – what else is going on in your school (robotics team)? in your state (CSTA group)?
  • Problems & Opposition

    Costs, resources

    Opposing viewpoints


    Competing pressures

    Beliefs about whether they can belong
  • Time Frame, Timing, & Repetition
    • Typical planning, decision making – when do students choose courses?
    • Multiple times
    • Imminent entry v. long-term influence