Bryant should enforce scholar recruitment

In 1992, FAMU topped the recruiting charts for National Achievement Scholars. It placed above powerhouses such as Harvard University and the University of Florida by recruiting 73 scholars.

In 1996, FAMU topped the recruiting charts for National Achievement Scholars again. It placed above powerhouses such as Harvard University and the University of Florida by recruiting 59 scholars.

In 2002, FAMU topped the state of Florida’s public university recruiting charts for National Achievement Scholars by recruiting 52 scholars – second only to Harvard’s 55.

In 2004, FAMU did not even make it to the charts. Why? Because it only recruited 9 National Achievement Scholars.

You’re probably asking yourself how can this be and why on earth would we drop so dramatically from the rankings. For the sake of not pointing fingers, we all just say the recruitment of National Achievement Scholars wasn’t a priority anymore.

The University’s administration was no longer concerned as greatly with the recruitment of NAS because it was too costly. The University was going through tough times financially and just did not have enough money to give to the hard-working employees in the Office of Scholarship and Recruitment to pull in those top students.

However, a main purpose of an institution of higher learning is to recruit the best and brightest students. They will be the ones continuing the great legacy. Therefore, they must feel wanted and at home and like the University truly needs them.

The National Achievement Scholarship Program is an academic competition that recognizes black high school students through their performance on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

Hundreds of universities pursue these N AS and offer astronomical packages to lure them in. Some give students a free ride for undergraduate and graduate studies, while others give students computers and guaranteed internships. Whatever the package, a student will never know about it if campus recruiters don’t contact them.

When the FAMU Office of Campus and Recruitment receives a cut in its recruiting budget, it is lessening the opportunity to get those great students. Employees don’t have the funds to travel to the various high schools. If they do, they can’t compete with the other universities.

In Fall 2004, a recruitment call center was initiated. Collegians were calling high school students, informing them about FAMU and what is has to offer them by answering any questions they or their parents may have had. Employees were standing by for assistance about exact financial details. It was a great program that was receiving a great return on investment.

Nevertheless, it had to be halted because there simply was not enough manpower to operate the call center when recruiters were out doing career fairs. Regardless of how many students volunteered, FAMU employees were needed for higher level questioning. But without money, who honestly would work overtime everyday of the week?

I know what it’s like to be pursued by colleges. I myself was a National Achievement Scholar. Schools I had never even heard of tried to get me. FAMU just happened to be the lucky school, but I could have very well chosen another university. However, when I was recruited, FAMU was making the recruitment of NAS a top priority.

Many things must be done for FAMU to return to the level of greatness it once held. Hopefully with our new interim president, Castell V.Bryant, we can refocus our goals and objectives towards what’s most important: the future of FAMU.

And that begins with the recruitment of those National Achievement Scholars.

Dominique Drake is a third year professional MBA student from Cleveland. She can be reached at