Educating your students about some of the current recruitment tactics being used

My daughter is a Freshman at a Public 4-Year University this year. She is enjoying the school and loves it. When filling out her school financial aid and registration information I included my cell number instead of hers.

Two weeks ago I received a text from an unknown number. “Is this (my daughters name)?” I responded “Who is this?”. It turns out it was a military recruiter. I asked why he was spam texting me and he said he wasn’t and that he got my info from the school. I checked with them and shockingly found out that under Federal Law Public Schools have to provide a directory of “public information” on students to anyone that is willing to pay for it. The student is able to opt out by having their information marked as “private” and it will not be included in public information requests. However, if your child earns any type of honor at the school, (like dean’s list or president’s honor roll) that information may not be included in press releases that are distributed to the media. My guess is 99.9% of students haven’t opted out because they don’t know this is being done and that it is even an option.

Yesterday I received another text from a different number. This one said “Hey (daughters name) how have you been?” I responded “Fine, who is this?” It was a recruiter from the same branch of the military who responded “My name is X from the (branch of military career center). I talked to you awhile back at (School Name). You gave me your number”. I knew this was bogus as my daughter would never give them her dads number but checked with her to make sure. She confirmed she has never talked to anyone. I called the recruitment office and the officer confirmed they got the number from the schools list and I had pretty much caught them red handed using underhanded tactics and misrepresenting themselves. Suffice it to say, I wasn’t happy and have informed their superiors.

As a Counselor, it is important to educate your students about these tactics that are being used. On all applications I would encourage students to use their parents home or cell number. They should also be counseled not to sign any paperwork without consulting their parents. I’m sure there are cases of naive freshman being coerced into signing paperwork they really shouldn’t once the recruiter has their attention. Thoughts? We would love to hear them.