By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
If everything is pretty much apples to apples, how can you help your undecided admitted students break the tie in your school’s favor?
One of the ways that I’ve shared with you before has to do with caring more than your competition. It still matters in 2019…a lot actually. Our ongoing survey research with colleges from across the country continues to show that how the admissions staff treats a student and their family throughout the college search process is one of the most important factors in a student’s final decision.
“Recruiting tiebreakers” as I like to call them can sometimes be something insignificant to you as an admissions professional but important in the eyes of the student/family. I want you to be mindful of that. I’d also encourage you (if you haven’t done it already) to ask your undecided admitted students how they plan to break a tie if it comes down to a couple of schools and everything is about equal. You could ask them that question as a call to action in an email or during a phone call.
Here are two other things that can help break a tie in your school’s favor:
- Emotional connections. For this generation of students, emotion often outweighs logic and facts. Students trust the feelings they get throughout the college search process. Those include the feelings you create through your recruiting communications, the recruiting relationship you develop (or don’t develop) with a student and their parents, and the feelings they get when they visit campus or watch videos on your social media pages or your website. How are you capturing their emotions and creating emotional connections between students and others in your campus community? Those emotional connections create a feeling of comfort, they create trust, and they offer a sense of acceptance and belonging which is what a lot of students are scared they won’t be able to find at a college. And if you haven’t already done so, now is a great time to offer to connect your undecided students with your current students. Hearing how a current student made that same tough decision and ultimately chose your school can be quite powerful.
- A clear understanding of how something at your college is truly different, and why your college is worth the investment. Your school has professors who care, a welcoming community, and lots of opportunities to get involved. So do a lot of other colleges. Without providing more details, it’s hard to truly stand out. You need to offer concrete examples of how your professors care (ex. they don’t just teach, they mentor; they provide their cell phone number to students and offer to provide help outside of class; they invite students over to their home for dinner; they show up at sporting events and other activities on campus to support their students). And when it comes to money, why are some students choosing to pay more to be a student at your school (aka: your value proposition)? Your value can be communicated logically and emotionally, and you need to do both.
If you want to talk more about today’s article, we can do that. I’m also happy to share what our ongoing survey research shows are other important factors in a student’s final decision. All you have to do is email me and ask.