Finding out where things stand with your admitted students: by Jeremy Tiers
I touched on this a couple of weeks ago, and since then I’ve been getting a lot of questions about how to handle admitted students who just aren’t saying much during a conversation.
Here are some more ideas that you can use during the latter stages of the recruitment process to find out what your undecided admits are thinking:
- If you think they might be concealing an objection, it’s time to do more probing. Try asking questions like, “Do you and your parents agree on which college you should attend?” Or, “Sometimes students that I talk to have a question about (insert objection). Is that something that’s on your mind?” If you’ve been transparent and honest up to this point you’ve probably gained their trust. Getting them to reveal that critical objection allows you to address it and continue to move the process forward.
- Test out their willingness to engage with you by doing what we refer to as a “trial close” question. A trial close question is a question that assumes a future action because you want to see how the other person will respond. For example, you could ask, “When you get on campus this fall, do you think you want to live in (insert freshmen dorm name)?”
- Make your commitment to them clear. It’s simple and obvious, yet many counselors neglect to do it. Your admitted students probably have multiple schools to pick from at this point and they need ways to differentiate between them. Reminding him or her through consistent messaging will reiterate how much of a priority they remain to you and your institution. This is something they want, need and will thank you for. Inconsistency on the other hand, particularly with your letters and emails, is likely to cause an undecided student to question your school’s interest, as well as slow down their communication with you at a critical juncture in the process.