By Jeremy Tiers, Senior Director of Admissions Services
3 minute read
If you’re the parent of a teenager, or even a preteen like yours truly, you know how crowded the young brain is these days. Information overload is a very real thing.
With endless amounts of information coming at them each and every day, it’s inevitable that during their college search prospective students are going to ignore or forget most of what colleges and universities share with them.
The campus visit is a perfect example. Think about the sheer volume of facts, numbers, and figures that get thrown at a student by multiple people in a short period of time. We expect students to have a photographic memory, when in reality they’re visiting you to get a ‘feel’ for your campus, not to learn or collect data.
Without repetition, they simply forget.
What that means for you is simple – You need to repeat important messages, facts and stories over and over again.
Notice that I didn’t say repeat everything, but rather “important” messages, facts, and stories (i.e. things that make up your college’s value proposition and align with what a prospective student is looking for in their college experience).
Here are a few of the ways you can effectively do that:
- Commit to a regular series of emails from start to finish in a frequency that this generation is comfortable with. For almost eight years now, the majority of students have told us in surveys that one email per week from a college or university is their preference. When a student sees ongoing (but not overwhelming), regular contact from you, and your content isn’t always transactional, they will read more of your emails. In fact, some students will open the same email you send multiple times because they’re taking in different pieces of information over and over, while at the same time confirming your interest in them.
- Don’t be afraid of repeating something that they may have already seen or heard. When I lead recruiting workshops for admissions teams, there are about seven to ten things I say numerous times throughout the day. The key is not to repeat everything word for word. Rewrite your messages, facts, and value points in a different way based on the time of year or the segment of students you’re communicating with. If you’re sending an email to students who have deposited, you might say something like, “I know I’ve mentioned this in a previous email, but…”. Or, during your admitted student event a speaker might say, “You might remember hearing about this and the reason I want you to keep it in mind is because…”. Even if it feels odd to repeat something, often times it ends up being one of those, “Oh yeah, I forgot about that, thanks for reminding me” moments for your students.
- Commit to more storytelling. Our brains are wired to forget a lot of facts and figures, but we remember more stories. How much storytelling are you incorporating in your messaging? You should consistently use storytelling (namely quotes from your current students) as a way to back up a point that you’re trying to make. Not only will it feel more personal to the reader, but they’re more likely to remember the example you gave down the line.
- Explain the ‘why’ behind what you’re saying. Building off an example I gave earlier, there’s value in consistently connecting the dots and explaining in your messaging why something is so important. Or, why it makes your student experience different, unique, or better. Prospective students tell us they want and need this from you.
Repeated, personalized explanations of what your campus and student experience offers, and why they should want it, is something that will differentiate you from your competitors, as well as build more trust and better rapport.
If you’d like to talk more about something I said in this article, let’s do it. Simply reply or email me here.
And if you found this article helpful, forward it to someone else on your campus who could also benefit from reading it.