With briefcase in hand and the pressure of production driving them, recruiters converge on high schools all over the country during August, conducting initial visits with aims of establishing rapport and setting the tone for the coming year. With so much riding on the High School/Community College Program, initial visits are key to a recruiter's success and should be carefully planned and executed for optimal results. Even a veteran recruiter who has the same schools as last year might find himself starting from scratch to rebuild relationships because of faculty turnover or changes in school policy. "Sometimes it's hard to make contact, but it's crucial that you do the initial visits in July or early August before school starts," said MSgt. Edwards Minton, 9th Marine Corps District Contact Team member. " If you do your visits too close to school starting, sometimes they don't have time for you," he said. "I always try to set up the initial visit over the phone well in advance with key people such as the principal, counselors or even secretaries. I start by contacting the people who I'll need to get things from such as education verifications, transcripts or even high school lists," added Minton."Once the ice has been broken and the recruiter has successfullyworked his way into the school, the goal is to get back in for future prospecting," said Minton. There are many techniques and tools at a recruiter's disposal designed to keep them in the schools and each recruiter must find out which one works best for them. The High School/Community College visit card is a checklist containing specific Marine Corps programs and it also lists several key faculty members to make contact with at the schools. The card is designed to streamline your efforts and help to plant seeds in each school.Iincentive items such as coffee mugs, wood pens and mouse pads can be valuable assets during an initial visit."I recommend recruiters to only bring a few incentive items in the school with them during the initial visit, giving them only to my key contacts," said Minton. " Items such as the desktop calendar and coffee mugs are constant reminders of the Marine Corps presence to staff and students."According to Minton, dropping off posters in the library or giving fitness charts to the coaches and gym teachers are good ways to expand your visits beyond the counselor or principal's office.Most agree the secret for recruiting success is a positive mental attitude, good planning and proper execution of the programs. By keeping this in mind and making the most of initial visits, a recruiter can find the key that unlocks each of his schools and sets the tone for the coming year.