Rethinking Graduate Recruitment Weekends: Using Slack to Make Virtual Recruitment as Effective as In-Person Visits

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Minnesota shifted to a virtual graduate student recruitment weekend. Herein we report on a method to conduct a virtual recruitment weekend using the business communication tool Slack. We discuss our strategy to share both research culture and the departmental culture at the University of Minnesota with prospective students. Content creation, Slack channel curation, and a schedule of events is discussed. Additionally, comparisons to previous years acceptance rates demonstrated that the virtual recruitment weekend acceptance rates were statistically unchanged from previous years, indicating that a virtual recruitment weekend on Slack is as effective as an in-person recruitment weekend. Further advantages for using Slack for increasing diversity and decreasing environmental impacts of graduate recruitment weekends are discussed.