By Jeremy Tiers, Senior Director of Admissions Services
3 minute read
Whenever I run into someone who participated in one of my training workshops I ask them what they’ve put into practice that has been the most helpful.
The number one thing I continue to hear is how changing the kinds of questions they ask both in-person and in their emails and text messages (instead of saying, “Do you have any questions?”, or, “What questions do you have?”) has created more engagement, and led to more productive and helpful conversations with prospective students.
Students will share all kinds of things about their college search – their wants, needs, fears, and how they feel. You just have to ask better questions.
To be clear, when I say better questions, I’m referring to ones that are direct, intentional, and feel personal.
With that in mind, here are 10 questions you should be asking this next class of prospects and inquiries in the coming days and weeks. Each one will give you important insights into their mindset, as well as their decision making process.
- When you think about going to college, how does that make you feel?
- What’s the biggest thing you’re worried or afraid about when it comes to your college search?
- What does the perfect college look like in your mind?
- What are one or two things that your future college absolutely has to have? (Is there anything that you definitely know you don’t want?)
- Tell me about the major you’re thinking about. What’s your dream job and what are you hoping to eventually do?
- What’s one thing you really want to know about being a student here?
- When you think about campus life at your future college, what kind of community and atmosphere are you looking for?
- What kind of advice are your parents and family giving you about the college search?
- What’s something that you wish colleges and universities would talk about more when they send you information?
- How are you going to decide which colleges you apply to?
Once you receive feedback, be prepared to respond with something that is helpful and offers value in order to keep the conversation going.
And don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions as a way to gain additional context and better understand why they feel the way they do, or why something is, or isn’t, important to them.
The majority of students continue to make it clear that they’re okay with direct questions when it’s clear you’re trying to learn more about them as an individual, and/or you’re trying to be helpful and not invasive.
One last thing – Early in the college search process it’s less about “selling” your school to prospective students and more about getting their attention and making them feel comfortable enough to engage. Don’t try and rush the process.
If you’d like to talk more about this article, go ahead and reply back or email me here.
And if you found this article helpful, I encourage you to forward it to someone else on your campus who could also benefit from reading it.