By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
This important reminder came last week from a student who replied to one of the focus group survey questions we asked about communicating with this generation of students during their college search:
“The amount of college emails we get is ridiculous. <College Name> stood out to me as my admissions counselor would contact me very often and all the messages were personal to me. He would always ask for my opinion and feelings and I liked the way he spoke to me. It got my attention and made me feel important. The same spam emails with the same generic information is overwhelming and turns us off.”
That’s some pretty insightful feedback. I encourage you to read the quote again and really dissect the words that were used.
Students have made it clear that throughout the college search process (particularly at the beginning) they notice when a school makes it about them and not their college or university. Along with that, when you encourage students to engage with you, your enthusiasm and availability to talk with them makes them feel like you care more.
Getting (and keeping) a back-and-forth conversation going is far more important than just getting them information about things like your campus, an academic major, or affordability/financial aid.
Is that information important in the process? Absolutely! Prospective students need logical reasons to choose your school over the rest of their list.
The secret though is to give information after you get information. A lot of colleges and admissions counselors usually do the opposite, thinking the information is what matters most and will make students take the next step. Instead, what we’ve found is that the more a conversation is made available, the information gets retained at a higher rate by the prospective student. And after it sinks in, the chance of them taking action significantly increases.
So, when you write your emails, or whenever you communicate in any form, make sure you’re opening the door and encouraging a conversation at least once through the language and words you use.
Besides speaking in a conversational tone and personalizing your message, ask a specific question as your call to action versus pushing them to a link. (Ex. “How does all that sound to you? Reply back and let me know if what I just shared is important in your college search.”)
It’s up to you to lead and drive the conversation, and consistently creating opportunities for back-and-forth communication should always be a primary goal.
If this article was helpful, go ahead and forward it to someone else on your campus who could benefit from reading it.
And if you’re interested in more articles with tips and strategies that you can use right now, you can find them here in our Admissions BLOG.