Some call it “the grind.” Others say they feel like a robot.
It’s a conversation I have a lot each recruiting cycle with college admission professionals across the country. Once a new year begins they quickly feel like they’re doing and saying the same thing(s) over and over to every prospect and parent.
A big part of the frustration, I’m often told, centers on how this generation of teenage prospects communicates and ultimately makes their college decision. As I’ve told you before, it’s often completely illogical and irrational. You can choose to accept that as fact and change your approach, or you can continue to recruit the same way every year and cross your fingers.
The bottom line is this next class of prospective students is looking for “different,” “original,” and “about them” when you communicate with each one.
If you feel like you’re repeating the same worn out recruiting script, and you’re looking for something different, I urge you to consider using one or both of the strategies below. These tips coupled with our admissions training workshop helped multiple clients of ours increase their yield this year, and in one case, bring in the largest freshman class in more than 20 years.
- Recruiting messaging straight from your counselors. Most schools send singular emails and letters throughout a typical recruiting cycle that aren’t tied together and have different people’s names on them. All of our focus group research continues to show that how the admissions staff treats a prospect throughout the college search process is one of the two most important factors when it comes time for that prospect to make a final decision. If you want to differentiate yourself and create engagement, this is an effective way to do both. Our clients know that when you create and cultivate a recruiting relationship between a counselor and a prospect/family, you build trust and loyalty. Your prospects will want to continue to interact with you rather than your competitors, and your counselors will have a much better feel for what that prospect is looking for and how they plan to come to a final decision.
- Plant questions you’d like your competitors to address. Attacking or criticizing your competition directly comes off as petty and unprofessional. But during a conversation with your prospect, it’s okay to bring up issues, facts, questions or topics that would raise doubts about your competitors. This is a good, subtle way of planting questions in the mind of your prospect that they’ll want to raise if and when they talk to another school they’re considering. Done correctly, this is a great technique for raising your stock in the mind of your prospect.
You and I both know that student recruitment is stressful, competitive, and at times confusing. Being more persuasive is a great equalizer. It doesn’t cost more and it doesn’t discriminate based on your school’s name or size.
Learning to be persuasive is an important tool that all college admissions professionals need to develop.
If you’re interested in learning more about how we create a yearly recruiting communication plan (emails and letters) that comes straight from your counselors, email me and we’ll start a conversation about how and why this approach works.
I’ll talk to you again next week!