By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
Last week during a virtual training workshop that I led for an admissions staff in Alabama, I told them that the most successful admissions counselors I know are able to get prospective students (and parents) to share how they’re feeling about the college search process – both overall and about specific things.
It doesn’t take those counselors long (and it won’t take you long either) to discover what motivates a student, as well as their likes, dislikes, fears, concerns, and wants. That’s because they have the ability to consistently lead the conversation, and they understand how important it is to be direct and intentional with their questions.
Their questions don’t just lead to answers, they lead to details and context. Those details come from latching on to a student or parent’s answer and digging deeper by asking follow up questions.
Follow up questions show that you’re listening and you care. Interestingly enough, a lot of admissions counselors tell me they don’t typically ask follow up questions. If that sounds like you, I really hope you’ll make a change after reading this article.
Here are five follow up questions that will work well in a number of different situations:
- Why is that important to you?
- Why do you feel that way?
- What does that mean?
- Help me understand that better
- Tell me more about that
Any time you ask a question you need to be ready with one or two follow-up questions that compel a student or parent to answer more in depth. Some might hesitate initially to share more so be prepared for that, but in a lot of cases they’ll open up because you’re asking for their opinion or input and that makes them feel valued.
Asking the right kinds of questions and follow up questions is an important skill that needs to be cultivated and consistently put into practice. Doing it will help you keep the process moving forward. Not doing it can delay a student from taking the next step.
If this article was helpful, go ahead and forward it to someone else on your campus who could benefit from reading it.
And if you’re interested in more articles with tips and strategies that you can use right now, you can find them here in our Admissions BLOG.