by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
Sometimes even your best isn’t going to be enough to convince an admitted student that your school is the “best fit” for them. The reasons will vary. Some will be legitimate, and some will make absolutely no sense whatsoever.
Anytime you lose a student it’s important to self-evaluate and figure out the why behind that student’s decision…especially if it’s someone that you had penciled in as a “yes.” That’s what I’m going to help you with today.
In some cases the why will be something that’s out of your control. But more often than you might think, the answer has to do with changing your approach, improving a certain skill set, or correcting a bad habit. Figuring out the why and coming up with an effective strategy for the next time around is something that will help admissions professionals who are looking to climb the ladder.
Let me start by giving you three basic tips to help you deal with rejection:
1) Don’t overreact and become argumentative with the student (or parent).
2) Congratulate the student on their decision. Professionalism always matters. Word of mouth (i.e. a positive experience even though the student didn’t pick your school) is king and it can help lead to future deposits.
3) Never let rejection get you down. I see this happen a lot with admissions counselors during their first cycle, to the point where some develop a negative attitude and begin dreading future conversations. Always keep in mind they’re not rejecting you personally.
Now, let’s talk more about how to determine the why behind a student’s decision. I’ve talked a lot in this newsletter about what kind of questions to ask at different stages of the recruitment process. If you missed last week’s article about questions to ask undecided students, click here.
Determining the why behind a “no thanks” can easily be done if you ask the right kinds of questions. Often times the answers to those questions can be even more insightful than the ones you ask a prospective student before they’ve made their final decision.
So, here are seven questions you can ask a student right after they tell you they’ve chosen another school. I want you to ask them exactly like you see them below.
- What was the number one reason behind you choosing that school?
- Tell me about the feel of their campus and how it compared to when you visited our school.
- Was there anything that almost made you pick our school?
- When did you actually know that our school wasn’t the right fit for you?
- What did your parents say about our school and your decision?
- Did our school communicate with you too much, not enough, or just the right amount during your college search?
- Can you tell me one thing that I could have done better to make your college search process less stressful?
Analyzing a recruitment process that ends unsuccessfully can provide incredibly valuable information that will be useful during future cycles. I encourage you to make time for this important step.
If your recruiting results this year aren’t what you expected, and you’d like help figuring out WHY, I’m happy to assist and get you some cut and dry answers. It won’t cost you anything but your time (no, me offering free help is not a misprint). Reply back to this email, and we will set up a time to connect.
Thanks again for spending a couple of minutes with me today!