By Jeremy Tiers, Senior Director of Admissions Services
3 minute read
During the college search process, a student’s outlook and mindset is continually changing. How are you keeping up with it?
It’s important that you constantly ask different kinds of direct questions so you can determine if your communications approach needs to be adjusted. If you’re not doing that, you’re going to have a harder time convincing students to choose your school, or to stay committed if they’ve already deposited.
Let’s talk about three scenarios that every college is currently dealing with:
A) Last summer or fall, the idea of going far away to college sounded great for a lot of out-of-state students or students who live more than four or five hours from your campus…so they applied. At some point, they start to imagine what it will be like if they choose a school where they don’t know anyone and can’t easily get home on a weekend or go see their current friends. Plus, it’s not uncommon for mom, dad, or their best friend to start to pull on the heart strings a little. And to make matters worse, uncertainty has inserted itself back into the conversation because of Omicron and other possible new variants.
B) The idea of staying close to home for college or even living at home to save on paying room and board sounds great. Then students learn that a lot of their current classmates are also considering staying close to home, and worries of “it’s going to be high school 2.0” start to creep in. Or, students who are considering living at home start to learn more about what the on campus experience is really like and FOMO starts to creep in.
C) Students currently have your school as one of their top choices, and then they receive the financial aid package. Most instantly become overwhelmed by the numbers they see. They (or the student and their parents) start to question how they’re going to afford it, or if your school is worth paying more for.
Life happens and students’ views, fears, wants, needs, and priorities start to change. It’s your job to find ways to keep up with it. Do not expect students to constantly keep you in the loop.
Here are a few questions you should consider asking this next class of students right now, particularly those who have been admitted or those who have deposited.
“What’s changed most for you since you started this whole process?”
“When you think about being a student here, what’s the biggest thing you worry about?”
“What advice are your parents giving you at this point?”
“If you end up choosing another school, what do you think the number one reason will be that you don’t pick us?”
“What do you want to see happen next in the process?”
Each of those probing questions will help you uncover where a student’s head is at, and what you need to do next in the process. Don’t be afraid to ask them now and/or again in the coming months.
If you’d like to talk more about something I said, hit reply or email me here.
And if you found this article helpful, forward it to someone else on your campus who could also benefit from reading it.