How To Re-Do Your Application Process To Gear More Towards College Students

By Francine Fluetsch on September 9, 2015

The application process: a process that becomes quite stressful for employees, especially college students.

While your application should get the right information you need to see if the potential candidate is one that you want to have working at your company, there are some things that you could tweak to gear your application process more towards college students.

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Less emphasis on prior experience

The experience portion is probably the most stressful part of the application for college students. They are still figuring out how to balance school with other activities, and may not have had much of a chance to beef up their resumes with previous experience.

While experience is a plus, you should know that college students are eager to learn and prove their worth, so if you can somehow point out that experience is not required, you will get so many more college applications in.

If they prove to you that they will be dedicated and serious about working for you and taking direction, you could be helping them out by giving them the experience they need, and taking a chance on them, which is much needed by many college students.

Letter of rec requirements

While I totally agree that letters of recommendation are a must in the application process, might I suggest getting a bit more lenient with the requirements for the letters of rec? Usually, companies will want letters from the student’s previous employer, but as seen above, some students haven’t had the chance to get previous experience, so this can also hinder them from applying.

While they shouldn’t be allowed to ask family members for a letter of rec, it would be wonderful if you would let them ask anyone who knows their work ethic or capabilities, like professors, fellow teammates, volunteer organizations, and so on.

This way, you will be getting letters from people who actually know the candidate and will be able to give you helpful information on them, and will also allow more students to apply, even if they haven’t had previous work experience.

Make a bonus round on the application

Showing a more playful side to tag along with the professional application will help relax the student and will let you see a bit more about them. When I applied for an internship at school, we were asked to bring in resumes, letters of recommendation, and our spirit animals.

The spirit animal didn’t technically have anything to do with the job, but when I said mine was a chicken and explained why, I made the interviewers laugh and it made me feel really good about the interview as a whole. This will catch your candidates off guard and will make them have a personal connection with your company, which is definitely a good thing.


Interviews can be another palm sweating affair, so the more fun you can make it, the better. Everyone is different, so different types of interviews will appeal to different people. The ideal situation would be to ask the potential employee if they would prefer a private, group, or phone interview, but of course that won’t really happen, so the best you can do is make whichever interviewing method you choose as smooth as it can be.

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I personally prefer a private interview because then I can meet the employer face to face and let them see the real me. While you still want to get all the information you need, why not start off with some small talk at first so the student gets more comfortable talking to you. The less nervous they are, the better the whole ordeal will go.

If you choose to have a group interview, it might be best to let them speak one at a time, in a circle, so no one is hogging the speaking time and you will get to feel out how each person would function working for you. Some people feel more comfortable interviewing with others, while it will bring out the competitive nature in other people, so group interviews can be both good and bad. It might also help to ask each person a different question, so they don’t riff off one another and no one is mad that someone else took their answer.

Phone interviews can be great for people who are very anxious for the interview, but are also less personal. I’d advise you to mainly hold interviews face to face if time permits it, to give you a better sense of the candidate, and vice versa.

As you can see, you aren’t going to have to do any major adjustments to the way your application process works, but some tweaks here and there would definitely get you some more college students to apply. They will really appreciate the chance you are giving them, and you might be presently surprised by all the potential and hard work that comes knocking at your door.

By Francine Fluetsch

Uloop Writer
UC Santa Cruz
Hi! I'm Francine and I'm a fourth year Creative Writing major at UC Santa Cruz. I am one of the Campus life columnists on Uloop's National Team and also the campus editor for UCSC. I enjoy reading, writing, and taking selfies with my cat.

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