By Jeremy Tiers, Senior Director of Admissions Services
3 minute read
A couple of days after I finished a recent virtual training workshop, one of the admissions counselors sent me an email with exciting news!
She wanted to let me know that during a college event earlier that evening, she took a completely different approach to her conversations with prospective students – an approach that we had talked about during the workshop.
Instead of diving into the usual “spiel” or asking students what questions they had, she focused on getting them comfortable by asking some direct, empathetic questions about their college search and how they were feeling about everything.
The end result was longer and deeper conversations that felt more personal. She wasn’t just sharing a bunch of facts and figures about her school, she was getting to know students (their wants, needs, and fears), and then talking with them about different parts of the student experience at her college based on how they responded to her questions.
Asking the right kinds of direct and intentional questions (in-person, virtually, or in an email or text) will not only differentiate you from your competition, it will also help you personalize the process for the other person.
With that in mind, here are 20 questions that you should be asking rising senior inquiries and prospects in the coming days and weeks. Each of these will give you important insights into their decision making process as well as their wants, needs, concerns, and fears.
- Where are you right now in your college search?
- How does it make you feel when you think about being a college student?
- What scares or worries you most when you think about your college search?
- What’s the most confusing part of the college search right now?
- Have you thought about (or talked with your parents/family about) when you hope to make your college decision by?
- What does the perfect college look like in your mind?
- What kinds of schools have you already crossed off your list?
- What are one or two things that your future college absolutely has to have?
- Have you done any campus visits or virtual events yet? How did those go? Anything that was really helpful? Anything that was really annoying?
- What do we need to talk about first or what do I need to show you before you’ll come and visit campus?
- What kind of community and atmosphere do you want your future college to have?
- Tell me about your perfect college location…what does it have and what does it look like in your mind?
- Tell me about the major you’re thinking about. What’s your dream job and what are you hoping to eventually do?
- What’s the wrong type of college for you? What are some things you definitely know you don’t want?
- What’s the one thing about <College Name> you want to know more about?
- What do you wish colleges and universities were talking about more?
- What kind of advice are your parents or friends giving you about the college search?
- Are you and your parents/family open to setting up a time to talk 1-1 with me about your plan to pay for college, as well as scholarships and financial aid?
- What do you want to see happen next with your college search process?
- Walk me through how you’re going to make your college decision.
When it comes to rising seniors that have already visited your campus, your biggest goal right now should be to determine whether or not they plan to apply when your application opens.
Simply ask, “Is <College Name> a school you’re planning to apply to?” If the answer is “I’m not sure yet,” then ask, “Can you tell me what’s making you unsure?”
A final, important reminder – 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.
Want to talk more about something I said this article? Just hit reply or connect with 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.