by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
Raise your hand if you watch award shows such as The Academy Awards, The Grammys and The Golden Globes. For my wife, it’s can’t miss television (although I’m convinced she just likes to see who’s wearing what outfit/jewelry).
Last week I watched the ESPYs (short for Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards). ESPN assembles some of the greatest athletes in the world all under one roof and then celebrates and relives the best moments of 2015.
Unlike my wife, I don’t tune in to see what suit LeBron is wearing, or whether or not Russell Wilson’s jacket color will match his girlfriend Ciara’s belt (which it did by the way). Okay, you can stop laughing now.
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, I’ve come up with the TCS awards for college admissions. There is one small difference. I’m not actually handing out trophies to specific people today. Instead, a detailed reminder or strategy that will help you as you begin to recruit this next class of students accompanies each award.
Courage Award – This award goes to the counselor who isn’t afraid to take an already great campus visit, re-evaluate it, and implement strategies to turn great into flat out awesome. Just because your campus visits have been successful in the past doesn’t mean there isn’t room for tweaks here and there. Let’s start with meetings. Even though you think it’s important to have prospects meet with all kinds of different people on campus, our research shows that very few of those meetings actually factor into the prospect’s final decision. The same thing goes for having them sit in on a class. Almost all your prospects tell us that it’s one of the least effective, least important parts of their visit.
Best Breakthrough Counselor – This award goes to the counselor who made a significant breakthrough in their recruiting techniques. For example, they understand that different kinds of recruits have different problems. Traditional, non-traditional, and international prospects all need different things from you. In some cases that means developing separate messaging. Speaking of your letters and emails, stop trying to follow “letter writing rules” of the past. Your goal should always be to get your prospect’s attention. That means less formal and more conversational. Finally, don’t forget to involve the parents (and do it early). Once contact has been made, understand that parents, just like your prospects, expect you to be consistent with your communication.
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 VP 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.
Thanks for being a part of the inaugural TCS admissions awards, and enjoy the rest of your day. We’ll see you next year with more awards for admissions professionals.
This is the time of year when some admissions staffs know they need to change their recruiting approach but aren’t sure how to do so. We can help. We offer multiple plan options that will best fit your needs and your department’s budget. You will start to see a difference immediately! Email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.