Veteran Recruitment and Syracuse University

Part
01
of one
Part
01

Veteran Recruitment and Syracuse University

Six best practices for recruiting veterans to universities are (1) recruiting them while they are still in the military, (2) hosting a college-readiness program, (3) partnering with organizations that help veterans pursue higher education, (4) offering and promoting special housing accommodations, (5) universities having a designated recruiter for veterans, and (6) focusing on students at community colleges. In addition to those five best practices, we also found a mention that word-of-mouth is a best-practice way to recruit veterans to universities, though we didn't include it as a best practice below because of its basic nature. As is stated below, Syracuse University is engaged in each best practice.

Recruiting Veterans While They Are Still in the Military

  • A best practice for recruiting veterans to universities is to focus on recruiting service members while they are still in the military.
  • Military bases have education offices, which hold workshops for helping to prepare service members to transition back into life as a civilian. Those military bases also hold education fairs, which universities can attend.
  • This is a best practice because (1) it was mentioned by at least three, reputable sources (Task & Purpose, Ace Net, and Columbia Spectator), (2) reaching service members when they are actively thinking about their transition back to life as a civilian can be very effective, and (3) it has been regarded as the most cost-effective and simplest method for recruiting veterans.
  • Columbia University engages in this best practice, as the school "forms relationships with the command centers of Special Operations Forces units . . . with the intent of encouraging those transitioning out of the military to apply to [its] General Studies [program]." The reason we cited to screenshots of that article in this Google Doc for this research finding and others throughout our research is because the link to the article was malfunctioning for some reason.
  • Columbia has also emphasized recruiting female service members and, to do so, has focused its recruitment efforts on military units that have more enlisted women, such as "the Defense Language Institute, a military research institution at which there is almost twice the national average of enlisted women." While at those places, Columbia's "admissions officers highlight examples of women veterans in positions of student leadership to show how it’s possible this leadership is translated from service into education into our student body."
  • Syracuse University is engaged in this best practice.

Host a College-Readiness Program

  • Another best practice for recruiting veterans to universities is for a university to host a college-readiness program specifically for veterans.
  • A college-readiness program for veterans provides an opportunity for veterans to see what life is like at a university before deciding whether to apply and to receive guidance on how to apply to college.
  • This is a best practice because it (1) addresses the common problem of veterans having the skills to succeed at university, but needing a boost in confidence to decide to attend and (2) has been successful in convincing veterans to decide to attend university after participating in the program.
  • The University of Michigan engages in this best practice through its college-readiness program for veterans titled VetCoRe. This link is to the program's web page.
  • VetCoRe is totally free (including food and housing) and runs for one week. Though the program is new at the University of Michigan, as it first launched in June 2019, it was successful in that some of the veterans who participated said they wanted to enroll in the upcoming semesters.
  • A recruiting statement on the VetCoRe website provides the following: "We appreciate and honor the service you have provided our country, and we welcome the diversity of thought, opinion, life experience, and leadership skills that military veterans bring to our campus community. We ask and challenge you to make Michigan a part of your future. This place, this community and this degree can be yours!"
  • Syracuse University has engaged in this best practice.

Partnering With Organizations That Help Veterans Pursue Higher Education

  • A third best practice for recruiting veterans to universities is for universities to partner with organizations that help veterans with pursuing higher education.
  • Examples of such organizations are Student Veterans of America, "[t]he Marine Corps' excellent Leadership Scholar Program[,]" the Posse Foundation, Service to School, and the Warrior Scholar Project.
  • The Student Veterans of America presents an especially unique opportunity for universities to recruit veterans in that "it is the only organization that holds a national conference where young veterans show up." This link is to the organization's website.
  • This is a best practice because (1) it was described as such by sources such as Task & Purpose and the Columbia Spectator and (2) serves "as a tried and tested method of identifying high-performing veteran applicants."
  • Norwich University is an institution that embraces this best practice.
  • Syracuse University is engaged in this best practice.

Offer & Promote Special Housing Accommodations

  • A fourth best practice for recruiting veterans to universities is for universities to offer and promote the special housing accommodations for veterans.
  • This is a best practice because it (1) was stated by the American Council on Education in its 2018 Toolkit for Veteran Friendly Institutions and (2) is implemented by many universities.
  • When it comes to university life, housing arrangements can present a unique obstacle for veterans because they "are typically older than traditional incoming students . . . [and] many veterans don’t wish to live in a traditional dormitory environment." Other veterans might also have a family and thus would need alternative housing arrangements.
  • To address this issue, "many universities will waive any on-campus living requirements for student veterans."
  • Some universities "allow veterans to live in graduate housing or offer family housing options."
  • Additionally, some universities "offer veteran-specific housing" or "allocate dorm space specifically for veterans."
  • The University of Illinois is an institution that embraces this best practice.
  • Syracuse University is engaged in this best practice.

Have a Recruiter for Veterans

  • A fifth best practice for recruiting veterans to universities is for universities to have a recruiter for veterans.
  • This is a best practice because it (1) was stated by the American Council on Education in its 2018 Toolkit for Veteran Friendly Institutions and (2) has been implemented by higher-education institutions.
  • Some veteran recruiters are "VA work-study candidate[s]" while others are on staff at the university.
  • Irrespective of who the recruiter is, veteran recruiters help veterans in understanding information about how to apply and learning about financial aid.
  • Arizona State University is an institution that embraces this best practice.
  • Syracuse University is engaged in this best practice.

Community Colleges

  • A sixth best practice is for universities to focus their recruiting efforts, in significant part, on students at community colleges.
  • As the director of University of Michigan's VetCoRe program explained, "[a] lot of vets will separate from the military, they'll go back home, they'll go to their local community college, and they don't really know what to do from there."
  • This is a best practice because (1) community colleges are where many veterans first enroll after leaving the military and (2) this practice was recommended by at least two reputable sources (the University of Michigan's VetCoRe program director and the Columbia Spectator).
  • Universities recruiting veterans at community colleges is especially important for recruiting women because some women veterans "believe[] that recruitment of women veterans primarily comes through community college."
  • The University of Maryland is an institution that embraces this best practice.
  • Syracuse University is engaged in this best practice.

Research Strategy

We identified five best practices for recruiting veterans to universities by reviewing many articles on that topic. Some of the sources we consulted during our research were Michigan Radio, Task & Purpose, and the Columbia Spectator. The next part of our research focused on finding a university that has adopted each best practice, which we found through articles and Linkedin job posts from universities. Lastly, we checked to see if Syracuse University has embraced any of the best practices by checking the institution's website and by searching for any articles that might have provided that information.
Sources
Sources