By Jeremy Tiers, Senior Director of Admissions Services
1 minute read
Last week while I was leading a training for an admissions team in Alabama, one of the topics we discussed was how to get conversations started with prospective students.
Keep in mind that the majority of students tell us in surveys that during their college search, they don’t know what questions they’re supposed to ask. Plus they’re nervous and/or worried to say or do the wrong thing.
Because of all that, the worst question an admissions counselor, tour guide, or anyone else affiliated with your school can ask is:
“Do you have any questions?”
Every single student has things they’re wondering about, but that specific question and others like it (i.e. What questions can I answer for you?) are too open-ended. When students hear that question the thought that often goes through their brain is, “What do you want me to say?” They experience what’s known as question reluctance.
Once you’ve deleted that question from your vocabulary, replace it with a more direct question that opens the door and gives the student ‘permission’ to provide you with context about their process, or how they’re feeling about some aspect of their college search.
Here are a few examples you can utilize with new inquiries:
- What are you excited about most when you think about being a college student?
- When you picture your future college, what are some of the things you see?
- What’s the wrong type of college for you? Anything you know you definitely don’t want?
- What advice are your parents (or friends) giving you about the college search?
- Help me understand why you’re interested in our “X” major or program?
- What do you want to see us talk about first (or next)?
If you’d like to talk more about something in this article, let’s do it. Simply reply back, 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.