by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
Most college admissions recruiters go to great lengths to tell their recruits all the reasons why they should commit or deposit to their school. Today, I’m going to show you why you might be taking the wrong approach if you’re doing it that way.
It has to do with the very subtle difference between telling your prospect to commit versus asking them if they can see themselves as a part of your school’s student body.
There’s science to back up what I’m about to tell you. The research that’s been done on this topic tells us that it’s smarter to ask and get them to visualize that commitment if you want them to eventually accept your school’s offer.
If you tell someone, particularly a young person, what you think they should do, many of them tend to shut down because they feel like you’re sending the message that you know better than they do.
When you ask your recruit to make a verbal statement about his or her intent on a future action, such as whether or not they see themselves living in your dorms or attending a campus event, they’re far more inclined to follow through with that commitment. That research is one of the big reasons we make sure our clients know how to ask effective questions. Our customized recruiting messages are designed to start conversations between our clients and their prospects and focuses on having their prospects commit to doing things like replying to their email or coming to visit their campus.
It’s those small commitments that can signal genuine interest from a prospect.
Here are a few more things that I would recommend you do with current and future recruits that you’re targeting:
- When you’ve received some of those small commitments that I just spoke of, ask your recruit about their intent to attend your institution. This is an important step! Just asking the question can have a big impact on your recruit. Don’t tell them to commit…ask them if they’re ready to commit.
- Try hard…I mean really, really hard to get some kind of affirmative answer. Again, the research shows that if the student gives you a positive statement more than likely they will eventually act on it.
- If you can, get them to make that statement in some kind of public way in front of their parent(s) or while they’re on campus for a visit or admitted student day event. It drastically increases the likelihood that they will commit to you.
- If they don’t respond in a positive way on the first try, don’t freak out. Asking consistently over time in a professional, collaborative way can build a feeling of trust and get them to understand that you and your school are serious about them.
The lesson here is pretty simple. Instead of spending time just telling your prospect how great your school is, make sure you ask them if they can see themselves as a part of your campus community. If you haven’t already done that with all of your current undecided seniors or transfers, you now know what your next move needs to be.
Gaining those small commitments throughout the recruitment process is a more effective way to getting that big commitment at the end!
Do you need help putting together the right message for your prospects? We create recruiting campaigns for admissions departments all over the country. You don’t have to wait until the next recruiting cycle to get started. All you have to do is email me and ask about becoming a client of Tudor Collegiate Strategies. Together we can dominate your competition.