By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
As you finish up your final few days in the office for 2018, I’ve got two things I want you to think about.
First, when you interact with prospective and admitted students and their parents in the coming weeks, be mindful that you’re one of a number of colleges reaching out to them through the many different channels.
For you to have a productive back-and-forth conversation, you need to understand how to influence them on a personal level. That means taking the time to really get to know who they are if you haven’t done so already – specifically their wants, needs, motivations, and fears as they pertain to the college search. The key to all of that is consistently asking the right kinds of questions that then allow the other person to take control of the conversation and express their thoughts and opinions on different things.
If you don’t take this approach, you go from being someone who they’re excited to learn more from, to just another college representative delivering a sales pitch…no matter how much they like your college on the surface.
Much like I never forget those who connect with me and thank me for helping them, your students and their parents will remember you when you consistently make this process about them. Caring, being thoughtful, being accessible, and just being plain relatable never go unnoticed, even if they don’t verbalize that to you.
Once they “know you” and it’s clear you’re consistently trying to help guide them through the college search process, they’ll listen and they’ll engage as you tell various aspects of your school’s story and explain why your college is a good fit for them. But it has to be about them.
Let me add one word of caution. While relationship building is extremely important, so is action. Relationship building without action (i.e. getting them to take the next step in the process) makes yielding a student much harder.
The second thing I want to bring to your attention is a question that needs to be answered – How is your school really different from the other colleges that your admitted students have on their lists?
Students tell us in surveys that they cut down their list of schools to two or three and then proceed to really struggle with how to differentiate between them. So, if one of your admits asked you that question, what would your response be?
Sure, a lot of colleges offer similar experiences, but there are also a lot of things that make your school, and every other college that your students are considering “unique.”
For example, instead of saying you have “professors who care,” start providing concrete, detailed examples of how they care (i.e. tell more stories). And if you have a “friendly, welcoming community,” then give some more context that allows the students to connect the dots and understand what that exactly means, why that kind of atmosphere is important, and how it will make their experience at your school more enjoyable and worthwhile.
These two little things can make a big difference, so please take a second and think how they apply to your day-to-day.
And don’t forget, next Tuesday’s newsletter will contain the most popular articles of 2018.