By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
Before you know it school will be back in session. My daughter actually starts third grade on Thursday, which still blows my mind. Where has summer gone?
Late summer and early fall continue to be popular times for a lot of rising seniors to take a college visit. You and I both know how important that visit is for this generation of students. It’s typically the make or break moment when your school moves up or down the list. And students rely on it heavily when making their final decision.
Let me give you another important piece of information. Our focus group research with colleges and universities across the country over the past year indicates that close to 60% of incoming college freshmen only visited between one and three schools during their college search.
The explanation is simple. Time is at a premium for both parents and prospective students in 2018. Now, more than ever, colleges need to make a stronger case as to why the campus visit (specifically their own) holds so much value.
If you’re wondering what your school has to show a prospective student before they’ll visit your campus, I can help you with that. We ask that exact question on the recruiting survey that goes out before I lead a staff training workshop.
Besides having the academic program/major that a student wants/is interested in, the two biggest themes that repeatedly come up are:
- Taking an interest in them as an individual
- Showing them that your campus community is inclusive, welcoming, and that it won’t be hard for them to fit in
We continue to find that most students want and need to understand WHY you want them to become a part of your student body and HOW your school will help them transition and “fit in” so seamlessly.
Ask yourself the following question – Have I given the students in my territory a reason to visit our campus? I mean a real, concrete reason.
Your prospects need a reason that is solidified in their mind – either one that they came up with on their own or a picture that you and your school have painted for them over a period of time. Putting it simply, what they need is what we all need to prompt action from time to time: A “because.”
Let’s take things a step further. How else are you going to lay the foundation for a campus visit? Consistent, engaging messaging (i.e. letters and emails) that comes from one voice and creates/cultivates a recruiting relationship not only with the student but also their parent(s) is an extremely effective strategy.
Let me mention one more thing before I let you go. Asking for a visit too soon in a student’s college search process can be extremely detrimental. You have to be a little patient, let that recruiting relationship build, create some anticipation, and then ask. Pushing the campus visit as your call to action every single time during early communications can quickly becoming unnerving and overwhelming.
If you want to talk further about anything I mentioned in this article, reply back to my email and we can do that.
P.S. After the campus visit is over, do you know how to determine whether your school moved up or down a student’s list? The answer is in today’s newsletter in the section that’s titled, “A Related Article From Jeremy.”