This is the third post in a series from a college counselor attempting to navigate the current admissions recruiting cycle. He is Brian Switay, a second year admissions counselor at Stevens Institute of Technology, a private research university in Hoboken, New Jersey. His stories are intended to provide an inside look at the challenges he faces as he aspires to grow and advance in the profession.
In his first post, which you can read here, Switay talked about keeping up with the inquiries. His second post offered tips to help other counselors successfully climb the admissions ladder.
By Brian Switay:
Your applications have been read and decisions are being made. Take a breath and relax at least for a couple of days by watching some March Madness and catching up on your Netflix shows.
Once those decisions are sent it is a whirlwind of phone calls, emails, appeals and Admitted Student Day, or in our case, Admitted Student Weekend events. Yes, at Stevens we hold a free for all open house on both a Saturday and Sunday! So, you might be thinking to yourself, not a problem, I will show up for work, answer a few questions and go home, no big deal. Well as you probably know, Admitted Student Day is the one of the most important events that your department will hold. This All-Hands-On-Deck attitude can be the catalyst of a great recruiting class.
So, what can you do during Admitted Student Days to bring in the best class possible and ensure that all those late nights and long days weren’t for nothing? Here are some ideas:
- Drink Coffee, plenty of Coffee (bring gum to combat Coffee breath!) You will need to keep your energy up because answering questions with a smiling face never ends.
- Get involved, don’t stand around. Most of you will be assigned a certain task throughout the day, and that is fine. Take the time to mingle and interact with families. Inquire about how their day is going. Some of the most frustrating answers we hear about why students did not end up enrolling are “No one asked me questions” or “I didn’t have enough interaction with my counselor/school.”
- Ask what other kinds of schools they are considering or what are some of the factors that the student would like to have in their campus environment. Listen closely and then follow up by showing the student/family exactly how your school can offer what they are looking for.
- Know who is working the event that day, specifically what professors from what department. Many times students and families would like to meet with a certain professor or student organization/office on campus. Many times, it is Financial Aid. Try to absolve all these questions to the best of your ability, but if you are unable, know where to bring the family so you can get them the answers they are looking for. One of the worst things is looking around and not knowing who can help fix/address the problem a family is having. Preparation is paramount!
- Business Cards…hand them out. Once you answer a question, follow up with a business card (1 per family is sufficient). That way when they go home and digest everything that has been marinating within their brains throughout the day, they know who/where they can turn if questions arise. Seems basic, but I have attended Admitted Student Day events where this never happens.
- Be Excited. So obvious I know, but if you don’t look excited to be there, then why should your students be excited to be there as well?
- LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN. Just listen to the requests of families. Don’t assume you know what they are thinking.
I know that most of this seems to be very basic, but you would be surprised at how quickly one might forget these little things.
After all the planning, packing and staging of swag happens, you can find yourself already exhausted. Reach deep and find the will to power through the next couple of days and land the outstanding class that you are striving to achieve. You can relax once you are home that evening (that is until your emails and phone start ringing off the hook). I wish you the best of luck bringing in your class.
Follow me on Twitter @BrianatStevens to discuss this with me further!