By Jeremy Tiers, Senior Director of Admissions Services
2 minute read
Throughout the year you want to find out why an inquiry who visited campus hasn’t applied, why a prospect is hesitating on coming to visit campus, or just in general why students aren’t engaging or taking any action.
The most common approach I continue to see admissions counselors take is to email or text a question like, “Is there anything I can answer for you?”
Questions like that usually get the same short answer that we give a restaurant server when they ask if we want dessert after the customer service has been awful: “No I’m good, thanks.”
We don’t want to get into a big discussion about how we’re feeling. We just want to pay the bill and leave.
A lot of students default to doing the same thing during their college search – they avoid like we avoid.
Here’s the problem – You need to uncover some of the primary objections that students develop if you’re going to reframe the conversation and have any shot of helping them get past their concerns.
Compounding this problem is the fact that many admissions counselors don’t want to feel like they’re being pushy, so they just move on.
As we’ve discussed before, a core part of every counselor’s job is to create opportunities for a prospective student (or parent) to engage and share how they’re feeling by asking more direct and intentional questions.
Today I want to specifically focus on having you ask questions that get the student to picture what they’re thinking, and then describe it to you. Let me give you three examples.
- Instead of asking, “Can I get you more information on anything?”, ask them, “What are you still trying to figure out about us when you imagine yourself being a student here?”
- Instead of asking prospects or inquires who have visited campus, “What was your favorite part when you visited campus?”, say, “Think back to your campus visit here…what was one thing that you saw that surprised you?”
- Instead of asking students from far away who haven’t visited campus, “Are you planning to come visit campus this summer?”, ask “When you picture yourself coming here for a visit, what’s the biggest thing that worries you?”
Questions like those get students to picture something and then relay those images to you. You get a front row seat to what they’re visualizing and thinking.
You can apply this strategy to almost any aspect of communication with students at all stages (as well as their parents/family). Not only will you get better insights into what they’re really thinking, you’ll also get them to reveal some of those hidden objections that may be floating around in their head.
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And if you found this article helpful, forward it to someone else in your campus community who could also benefit from reading it.