IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Top students recruited play by play (and by song)
CU-Boulder’s current recruiting class is one of the strongest in years. Top prospects from high schools around the country have committed to attend – exceptionally talented players with strong fundamentals, disciplined practice habits and scholastic aptitude. Where will these students be playing this fall? Not on football fields or basketball courts, but in concert halls, on stage and throughout the Front Range.
These students aren’t being recruited for sports, but for music. They come from a highly competitive applicant pool in a variety of musical areas including performance, instrumental, voice and music education.
As assistant to the dean of recruitment and outreach for the College of Music, Fred Peterbark attends national performance arts college fairs where he promotes CU-Boulder to top-notch students who are hoping for a career in music.
“Recruiting music students is similar to sports recruiting because we are competing with schools from across the country for the best students,” said Peterbark, who graduated May 8, 2009 with a master’s degree in voice performance.
CU-Boulder competes for students with major universities that have strong music programs, such as Indiana University and the University of Texas at Austin, and with music schools like the San Francisco Conservatory and the Juilliard School in New York City, as well as with in-state universities.
Peterbark’s recruiting strategy is a three-pronged approach in which he not only promotes CU-Boulder to potential College of Music students, but also to their parents and music teachers who play a integral role in a student’s decision about where to enroll.
Peterbark’s journey to the position began in 2007 as a graduate student in the College of Music, when he volunteered to organize a public concert on campus for Black History Month featuring spirituals arranged by African American composers. The following year he organized a larger concert that paid tribute to African American opera singers. Based in part on the success of the concerts, his music background, his teaching certificate and his buoyant, outgoing personality, Peterbark was hired in 2008 as the College of Music’s first recruiter.
“Recruiting is not just about music, it's about the university,” he said. “It is important for me and for faculty to take the time to talk to every student who stops to ask a question or who sends an email. Even if they decide not to enroll here, they might share information about CU with someone who might want to come here. It’s a ripple effect and you never really know how far out the ripples will spread.”
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