Tips to Transition High School DECA Alumni to Collegiate DECA Members
When recruiting for new Collegiate DECA members, I encounter a lot of individuals who were DECA members in high school and were excited to see that Collegiate DECA existed on their campus. They would provide our chapter with their contact information, maybe attend one meeting and then disappear from our radar. Perhaps they felt that they didn’t have time for the organization. Maybe they found other interests. Or, they could have just been burnt out. While it is an unfortunate reality that not everyone will want to continue DECA in college, here are a few tips on best enticing high school DECA alumni to say yes to Collegiate DECA.
1. Be invested in them
Learning about your prospective member should be the focus of your recruiting. You’ll not only be able to then cater your pitch to them, but also explain the ways that your organization will best benefit them. Find out what major they’re in and what they’re looking to achieve during their time in college. A lot of people think that now that they are studying a specialized area not focusing on marketing, DECA is no longer relevant to their future, but we all know that’s not true!
2. Get them to the first meeting
After getting to know more about your potential member, get their email address to follow up. Keep them informed on the things happening within your chapter and the Collegiate DECA world to ensure that they come to that first meeting. This part is critical to introducing them to the officer team, all that your organization offers and the sense of community surrounding your chapter! And if they can’t attend the first meeting, send them a recap email to show that you care about their involvement.
3. Highlight the similarities
One of the most notable things that previous high school DECA members love about the organization is the competitive aspect. Emphasize that the competitive spirit doesn’t go away after high school! The Collegiate DECA International Career Development Conference may be of a different scale, but the integrity of DECA remains the same. Also, discuss any other similar personal experiences that you or a member who has been a part of both divisions have witnessed.
4. Highlight the differences
Perhaps your prospective member feels as if they’ve outgrown the organization or are burnt out. It’s just as important to explain the distinction between the two divisions. Collegiate DECA can be a lot more focused. It’s a different speed and can be more personal. There are members with varying experience and education levels that are serious about the organization. Chime in on whatever else that makes your chapter so unique and draw in on your own experience and perspectives of the variances between the divisions. Through Collegiate DECA, you can continue to grow and develop.
5. Emphasize the professional skills
No matter what field your potential member is looking to be in, Collegiate DECA can still benefit them. Are they an aspiring healthcare professional? Dealing with patients requires communication skills and what better way to prepare than with role plays! Engineering? If they have to code or create a project, they have to find the best methods to present it. Even if they have learned the basics before, they can only grow from refining their skills and practicing what they learn in the classroom.
6. Show that there’s a community in DECA
College is the place to meet new friends, but that can be challenging if you’re not involved. Encourage high school DECA alumni to continue their journey not just for the education, but for the connections. Joining Collegiate DECA means being easily able to find commonplace among their fellow members and expanding their networks.
All in all, have them recall why they loved DECA so much and showcase that their journey doesn’t have to end. There’s a spot for everyone in Collegiate DECA!