It can be a challenge to get students to sign up for a computer science class. In this post, we explore what and who might encourage students to participate in computer science. We also provide some customizable 1-page flyers you can tailor to advertise in your own school.
WHAT MOTIVATES STUDENTS?
There are several great reasons students might consider a computer science class. Each student might have a different motivation, so tailoring your "pitch" to the student can be very useful. Do any of these reasons resonate with your students?
- Computer Science leads to great job opportunities and high salaries
- Some of the projects you can code are pretty cool
- Computing technology is fascinating
- Meet high school graduation requirements with a programming class
The job market for software engineers is great - and is projected to grow significantly over the next decade. Computer Science graduates will, on average, earn more than many other degree holders.
You can also demonstrate some of the projects that prior students have done in your classes. Students who are fascinated with technology may appreciate the opportunity to learn why computer applications behave the way they do.
Depending on your state, a computing class or computer science class may be required for graduation. Students may also be able to substitute a computer science class for one or two years of a foreign language or mathematics.
The key is to figure out what makes your students tick, and tailor your "pitch" to appeal to those student interests.
WHO MOTIVATES STUDENTS
Students may listen to several guiding influences when it is time to decide on course selections for the upcoming year. In November 2021, the College Board published a YouTube video titled "Increase Student Engagement in AP Computer Science A". While the content of that video was focused on AP CSA, we think the overall recruiting principles are worth considering for all kinds of computer programming classes. The following general groups of people were identified to assist your recruiting efforts:
- Friends: Encouraging friends to join a class as a group may be easier than asking one student to do something different than everyone else. You might appeal to school clubs, sports teams, or other groups of students and friends willing to try a new experience together.
- Teachers: Teachers can invite students personally - approach students who would be a good fit and make a personal "pitch" based on what you think will motivate those students.
- Students: Other students who have already completed your classes can be a great asset. Ask them to speak with prospective students about their good experiences.
- Parents: Parents clearly play a large role in helping students select classes. Those parents might need help understanding what computer science is all about, the kinds of great job opportunities that await software engineers, and how a computer science class fits into graduation requirements.
- Guidance Counselors: Similarly, school guidance counselors may need help recognizing the type of students to route to computer science classrooms. While Computer Science is often lumped with other CTE courses, the prerequisites, skills, career path and college opportunities for CS students may be different than other CTE subjects.
POSTERS AND FLYERS
As part of your recruiting efforts, we have created several 1-page posters or flyers. These posters are provided in both PDF and DOCX formats, and you are encouraged to customize them as needed to advertise your specific computer science opportunities.
You might print and hang these kinds of flyers in your classroom or around the school. You can also look for opportunities to email them to parents, post on your school's social media, or distribute them at school fairs or parent meetings.
Each student is unique and may need to be approached differently. However, you also have opportunities to leverage groups and other motivating influences to encourage students to try Computer Science. Use our own flyers as a starting point or create your own. We'd love to hear about your best techniques for CS recruitment!