by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
For many people, like my wife, award shows are can’t miss television.
Last week I watched the ESPYs (short for Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards). Once a year ESPN assembles some of the greatest athletes in the world all under one roof and then celebrates and relives the best moments of the past calendar year.
Award shows highlight the amazing work of people in any given industry or profession. In addition to that, they bring about healthy competition and allow for both personal and team growth.
In honor of the ESPYs, last July I came up with the inaugural TCS Awards for college admissions. There is one small difference. I’m not actually handing out trophies to specific people today. Instead, I’m going to give you some very important reminders and strategies that will help you as you begin to recruit this next class of students.
Here we go. And the award goes to:
Courage Award – This award goes to the Admissions Director who scrutinizes their recruiting communication plan every single year. I’m not referring to your marketing materials…they aren’t one in the same. You can’t expect to increase enrollment if you don’t have a consistent comm. flow plan that contains messages that engage both prospects and parents all year long. Even if you only fine-tune a few emails and letters, it’s vital that you figure out what messages are resonating and which ones are falling short. For many directors, that may very well mean you have to forget the letter writing rules of the past.
Best Breakthrough Counselor – This award goes to the counselor who made a significant breakthrough in their recruiting techniques. Instead of using the “blanket approach”, they understand that different recruits have different problems as well as different wants and needs. If you ask the right questions at the right points in the process, you will obtain useful information that will aid you in their individual recruitment.
Best Championship Performance – This award goes to the counselor, new or veteran, who has delivered the best performance turning admits into deposits. They create an emotional tie with their prospects early in the process because prospects trust those feelings as they make their final decision about your college or university. Those are the feelings you create through the various methods of recruiting communication as well as the feelings they get when they visit your campus.
Best Director/VP of Enrollment – This award goes to the Director or Vice President of Enrollment who creates and maintains a motivated and confident admissions team. They understand that, just like today’s recruit, each of their staff members is different and has different motivations. As a leader, they are consistent with their message, ask for input and new ideas, and understand the importance of both ownership and recognition. This year’s winner also values collaborating with other offices on campus, specifically financial aid. They set up cross training between their counselors and those in financial aid so that skill sets are expanded and time is used more efficiently.
Best Upset Award – This award goes to the counselor who isn’t afraid to go up against the big name competition because they know they have a winning strategy. That strategy uses multiple communication channels to deliver a consistent series of short, logical, fact-based messages as to why your school is the “right fit.” It also contains an explanation of why being the smaller name is the smarter choice. The academic reputation at your school, the smaller class sizes and individual attention…whatever makes the most sense for you to stress to your recruit. It needs to be something.
Best Comeback Award – This award goes to the counselor who doesn’t avoid talking about objections and instead confronts negatives that they consistently hear about their school early on. They anticipate the common ones (like financial aid), get clarification, acknowledge and add information, and become a problem solver for their prospect.
Best Moment Award – This award goes to the counselor whose hard work is rewarded in a major way when they get a big YES after they “ask for the sale”. Most admissions counselors rarely “ask for the sale”, instead assuming that their prospect will just tell them whenever they make their final college decision. I want you to remember that if you’ve built trust, understood your prospect’s individual needs, and answered any objections, the next logical step is to ask for this.
Thanks for being a part of the 2nd Annual TCS Admissions Awards, and enjoy the rest of your day. We’ll see you next year with more awards for admissions professionals.
We continue to help admissions departments GROW and WIN by taking a systematic, research-based approach to developing the right recruiting messaging. If you’d like to talk about how we can do that for you and your admissions team this year, email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org