By Jeremy Tiers, Senior Director of Admissions Services
3 minute read
Getting new inquiries and even new prospects or suspects to visit campus during the summer months is a high priority for every admissions office.
According to our ongoing Tudor Collegiate Strategies survey research, the “feel” of campus continues to be one of the two most important factors for the majority of students when they make their college decision.
Our research also shows that after the campus visit, students have a different mindset about a college or university. They’re either more excited or less excited about the idea of being a student there.
Knowing that, it’s extremely important for admissions counselors to ask direct questions as part of their post-visit strategy. Doing so can provide counselors with some of the best information possible during a critical point in the college search process.
If your counselors meet one-on-one with a student or family after the walking tour or near the end of a visit, what I don’t want you to do is bombard the student or their family with bunch of questions about what they heard and saw during the course of their visit. They haven’t had enough time to process everything yet.
Instead, consider the following strategy that continues to work well for our partner schools and other counselors who have implemented it.
During your one-on-one chat, offer to answer any burning questions the student or parent(s) may have, but make it clear that you understand it was a busy day with a lot of people and a lot of information, and you know they’re probably a little tired and ready to hit the road.
Before they leave, I want you to recommend setting up a short phone call with the student a day or two later. Make it clear that you want to give them time to process everything from their visit, and the goal of that phone call will be to answer any questions they come up, as well as discuss the student’s next step.
Ask the student if they’re okay doing that, and be sure to schedule a day and time for the call before they leave campus.
When you’re on the phone, here are some questions you might ask:
- “Are you more excited or less excited about <School name> now that you’ve seen campus?” When they answer, follow-up by asking, “Why is that, <First Name>?”
- “If you came back for another visit, what would you want to see or experience again?”
- “What do you think the best part about being a student here would be?”
- “What’s something you wish you could change about our campus now that you’ve seen it?”
- If one or more parents visited with the student, “What did your parents (or just mom or dad) say they liked most about our campus and the whole visit?”
- “What’s the biggest thing you’re still wondering about being a student here?”
- “What’s the biggest concern you have about <School name>?”
- “What do you want to see us talk about next?”
Each one of those questions will allow you to gain some insights into how the student, and possibly their family, are now viewing your school as well as their overall process.
As far as the student’s next step goes, that will depend on how positive your conversation is. If the student is excited and engaged, don’t be afraid to ask them if they’re planning to apply. But if things don’t go so well, I also don’t want you to be afraid to ask the student if they think your school might not be a good fit. Be empathetic and ask them to explain why that is.
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.
And, if you’re looking for ideas related to campus tours, check out this article that Ethan Penland wrote earlier this month – it generated a lot of engagement!