By Jeremy Tiers, Senior Director of Admissions Services
2 minute read
In nine years of studying how students make their college decisions, we’ve seen something that is becoming harder and harder to change when it comes to a student’s mindset.
I’m talking about the location of a college or university – not just how close (or far away) it is to a student’s home, but also the town and area that surrounds a campus, as well as the part of the country it’s in.
When students are doing their college research they come up with some vision for the kind of town and area they want (or don’t want) to go to school in.
For example, a student might hate how humid it can get in South. Or they may live in a cold weather city where it snows significantly every year and they love outdoor winter activities. Maybe they live in an urban area and associate small towns with there’s nothing to do. Or, maybe they’re tired of all the teenage drama and are worried that going to a college or university close to home will feel like high school 2.0.
Regardless, when your school doesn’t completely match with their vision, most don’t want to tip you off that they actually have one or more concerns. If your college or university has other things that peak their interest and fit what they’re looking for, many will just apply and proceed like it’s not that big a deal.
Spoiler, it is, and it’s going to be a challenge for you to yield that student if you don’t intentionally work to uncover their concern(s) early in the process.
The key as I’ve shared many times before involves asking direct questions. Here are three that continue to work well:
“What kind of college location do you feel would be the wrong type of place for you?” *It’s often easier for students to tell you what they don’t want or like.
“How do you feel about where our school is located?”
“Why does our location seem like it would be a good fit for you?”
If a student stumbles over their words or offers a very generalized and basic answer, versus a well thought out one, that should be a red flag. Proceed with caution and be sure to ask follow-up questions so you can figure out if your school is actually high on their list or just one of many.
To reiterate, I want you to assume that every new inquiry is going to have some kind of unspoken objection or question (big or small) about where your school is located.
Don’t ever assume there’s nothing there. The best recruiters know better, and now you do too.
If you’d like to talk more about something I said, feel free to drop me a note at email@example.com
And if you found this article helpful, forward it to someone else on your campus who could also benefit from reading it.