by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
Thanks for checking out this week’s newsletter. I’m sending good vibes your way as you finish putting together your school’s next class of new students.
Last week I received a bunch of emails from admissions counselors looking for advice on how they could move their undecided students to the “yes column,” or at least one step closer towards making those deposits.
In three different emails I was given the scenario of a student being “90-95% sure” or “pretty sure” that they were coming, but the student then told the admissions counselor in the same conversation that they were going to wait a little longer to make sure. My replies to each admissions counselor were the same. I explained the importance of immediately setting up a phone call with the student and asking a specific question about their uncertainty (ex. “Can you help me understand what’s preventing you from making your decision right now?”).
Keep in mind that at this point in the process it’s less about “selling” to your undecided students and more about asking the right questions that will get them to provide insight or answers to their decision making process and current mindset.
With that in mind, here are a handful of questions that have worked well with this group of students. You can ask them just like I’ve written them, or you can tweak them a little depending on the situation. And let me reiterate that if you want to talk about specific situations you’re dealing with, or you want to ask for context about any of the questions below, I’m happy to help you. Just reply back or click here to send me an email.
- What does your decision making process look like?
- What’s your timeline for making a decision?
- What’s left on your to-do list before you make a decision?
- What’s the biggest thing you’re scared of right now?
- Is there anybody else besides your parents that you’re leaning on to help you?
- What are your parents saying about making a decision?
- Do you and your parents agree on which college is the best fit for you?
- Have you and your parents talked about choosing a school that costs more?
- Is your decision going to come down to which school gives you the biggest scholarship?
- If you were going to tell me that you’ve picked a different college, what do you think the #1 reason would be?
- What do you like the most about our campus and the atmosphere here?
- Can you see yourself living here on campus?
- What do you want to see us talk about next?
- Are you feeling like you’re ready to commit to <School name>?
If you ask a question and the answer you get doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, ask them one of these follow-up questions:
- What does that mean?
- Can you help me understand that a little better?
If the student gives you a vanilla answer, and you want more context, go ahead and ask them WHY what they just told you is important to them.
You should also consider asking any question with a “because” in it. In our work with admission departments around the country, we’ve found that “because” is a powerful motivator for this generation of students.
One more thing – Whatever you do, don’t just run through a list of questions robotically. As you’re getting feedback from the student, be sure and add something of value to the conversation. Otherwise your conversation will come off as scripted, and it’s unlikely the student will truly “open up.”
After you ask one or more of these questions, let me know how it goes. Good luck!
P.S. It’s crazy how fast my newsletter community continues to grow! I can’t thank you enough for all the support. If you know somebody who could benefit from being a part of it but isn’t right now, have them send me a quick email to firstname.lastname@example.org that simply says “sign me up for your newsletter.”