by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
Challenges. We all have them.
One of the biggest challenges that many college admissions teams face in this highly competitive environment is coming up with something interesting to say.
Furthermore, there’s the challenge of writing things in a way that actually connects with this generation of prospective students. Both hurdles are extremely challenging for many college admissions recruiters who are being asked to do more with less time.
In my ongoing effort to help you become a smarter, more efficient recruiter, I want to pass along some proven ideas on how to actually be interesting to your prospects, specifically with what you write about in letters, your emails and on social media:
- Don’t be afraid to be wrong (within reason, of course). This is part of an overall strategy of being transparent. Being wrong means you’re human, and that’s a quality that our research says today’s prospects, and their parents, value significantly. Talk about a part of your application process or your campus visit that your institution is trying to improve. The honesty will be refreshing to your recruits. Of course, exercise reason when you do this.
- Don’t be afraid to be right. Build yourself as an expert, and give away your knowledge to prospective students and families. We’re all drawn to people who we believe can help us get to where we want to be. Your prospects are no different. When they accept you as an expert admissions counselor, it goes a long way towards erasing any doubts that may exist about your school in their mind.
- Surprise your prospects. Jim Belosic, CEO and co-founder of ShortStack, a company that helps build engaging social media contests and marketing campaigns, says that one of best ways to deliver exceptional customer service and be more interesting is to constantly be on the lookout for ways to “surprise and delight”. There are so many different opportunities throughout the recruitment process where you can make your prospect’s day. Are you trying to do that now? When you surprise and delight, your prospects and their parents will stop and pay attention. In a marketplace overflowing with colleges and universities that look and feel the same, setting yourself apart from the competition is a key factor in winning over a student.
- Make your prospects laugh. Successful communicators have been doing this for ages, and as long as it’s appropriate for your prospect, humor can get them to pay attention to your recruiting message. Easier said than done, of course, but I encourage you to look for ways to get your recruit to smile and laugh.
- Make sure you are ALWAYS telling a great story. I’ve talked about this over and over again, and we use it as a foundation for creating our Total Recruiting Solution (TRS) plans for our college admissions clients. At their core, stories support your key recruitment points, make solid openers, and teach your prospects while entertaining them. And, a good story can make you a legend in recruiting. I’m not talking about the occasional anecdotes on social media or in one of your letters or emails. I’m talking about the story that gets told over and over again for years to come. Forget about all the others…tell me that one. As you tell those stories, don’t forget to explain how your prospect fits into them.
Being interesting isn’t easy, and converting that interest to your letters, emails and social media posts is even more challenging. If a counselor can master the art, there is almost nothing that they won’t accomplish in the competition for the best students.
Strive to be interesting creatively, and watch what happens to your recruiting results!
Need help developing your story? From our customized On-Campus Workshops to one-on-one personalized recruiting message creation as a part of our Total Recruiting Solution plan for college admissions departments, we have a lot of resources that can help counselors become more effective recruiters. If you’d like to learn more, just send me an email directly.