WikEd fancyquotesQuotesBug-silkHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extensionPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifierAnalysisPhoto linkImage LinksHaiku-wide-iconHaikuLaconic

An organization that has always had strict standards about who is allowed in their ranks has suddenly decided become more lenient about who it recruits.

The most frequent reason for this change of policy is a need for more members. If the organization is combating some rival group or other force, then extra numbers, even as cannon fodder, become extremely valuable.

This change in policy is also most frequently how our main character becomes a member of said group when before that the best they could have hoped for was to fanboy from afar. This decision is also often a cause of friction between the those who support the new arrangement and the Old Guard who resent the "riffraff" coming into their midst.

This trope is specific to when an organization changes to rules to allow more people to join, as opposed to situations for the elite organization making a special exception for an especially talented individual who otherwise wouldn't have been able to join.

Examples of Lowered Recruiting Standards include:

Anime & Manga

  • In The World God Only Knows lack of numbers is the reason that a third class devil like Elsie gets trained and sent to Earth to capture loose spirits; a job previously reserved for the best of the best.


  • This trope is the premise behind the original Police Academy movie. The mayor instituted the policy, and a resentful chief of police cooks up a plan to make the new cadets so miserable they quit.


  • Monstrous Regiment, by virtue of the fact that there was hardly anybody left to recruit by the time of the story.
  • Happens in Under the Dome by Stephen King. After the town is cut-off from the outside world via Some Kind of Force Field, the town's leaders make the decision to deputize some young adults in order to beef up the police force. These young adults? The town selectman's sociopathic son and his delinquent friends.
  • The Manticorian Navy in Honor Harrington has been quietly lowering its standards with regards to re-enlistees in preparation for the war with Haven, resulting in troublemakers like Randy Steilman being kept in the service.
  • Harry Potter is accepted in the advanced Potions class because the new teacher has lower standards than Snape's.

Live Action TV

  • All in The Family: Archie's lodge is in trouble for not having any black or Jewish members. So he suggests that they invite one black to join - Solomon Jackson. And one Jew - also Solomon Jackson. At the end of the episode Jackson accepts their invitation to join, and promises to invite all his black friends and all his Jewish friends to join too.

Professional Wrestling

  • From professional wrestling, you have the nWo [1] of the WCW. This was one of the things that soured the storyline, causing the eventual implosion of the WCW.

Real Life

  • There have been feminists who demand that the standards to becoming a firefighter be lowered so that more women can join, prompting massive protests from women who measured up to the original standards.
  • Conscription has this effect on armies. The army is forced to accept many barely fit recruits who don't want to be in it either.
  • Jokkingly mentioned by Dave Barry in regards to universities being so desperate for students they now accept people they wouldn't have allowed to work in the boiler room.

Video Games

  • In the Sith Warrior storyline of Star Wars the Old Republic, your initial quest giver comments that this policy was instated within the Sith Academy. In an inversion, your character is one of the elite who is there legitimately, while The Rival is one whose presence owes itself to the Lowered Standards.

Western Animation

  • Justice League does it, when they go Unlimited, resulting in the recruitment of oddballs who have to be expelled later, like the Huntress.
  • On The Simpsons, NASA decides to let an average person be an astronaut to better its image, which is how Homer ends up on the space shuttle.
  • In the South Park episode "Best Friends Forever" Kenny dies and ascends to Heaven in order to command Heaven's army against the forces of Hell. He is told by the angels that they used to only let Mormons into Heaven, but they started to let others in order to increase their army's size.


  1. New World Order
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.