by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
…(Fill in the blank). If I asked you what those next few words should be, what would you tell me? What do you think your admissions team, specifically counselors, should be doing right after a prospective student visits your campus?
I’m asking you this question because in my conversations with admissions directors and counselors this fall, many of them have told me that while they put a ton of time and energy into getting a student to visit campus and making sure the visit goes well, very little time is actually spent on developing a post-visit strategy…and by post-visit strategy I’m not talking about sending a “thank you for visiting” note. There’s more to it than that.
Too many admissions counselors tend to slip into the mindset that once a prospect has completed their visit to campus, all of the prospect’s questions have been answered.
Our research continues to show that your prospect has a completely different mindset after their campus visit than they do both before and during.
That means what you say to them after they visit, and the types of questions that you ask them, can not only help set you apart from your competition, but it can provide you with some of the best information possible during a critical point in the recruitment process.
In many cases, your prospect is ready to reveal all kinds of new information about their timeline as well as new feelings (both likes and dislikes) they may have following their visit to your campus…but only if you ask them the right kinds of “effective questions”.
Now, you might be wondering when I say right after do I mean immediately after the walking tour before they leave campus, or am I referring to that first week following their visit? It depends. Recruiting is situational. You know that, and I know that. And because that’s the case, you’re going to have to rely on your instincts in terms of when to ask certain questions after the campus visit.
For example, if you’ve had all of the following: consistent back and forth conversations with a prospect, it’s the second time they’ve visited your campus in the past 12-15 months, they clearly demonstrate a high level of excitement on the visit, and you’re able to speak 1-on-1 with them after the tour/meetings. Then, you should be a little more aggressive with your questions before they depart campus.
On the other hand, if it’s a new inquiry or prospect that you just started communicating with in the past 4-6 weeks and it’s a big group setting during the visit, and they haven’t said much to you or anyone else during their time on campus, you should give them a few days to process everything before following up and asking some of the questions I’m about to recommend to you. Do however go ahead and set up a follow-up phone call with them before they leave campus.
Here are some examples of “effective questions” that we’ve recommended to our clients that have produced valuable, usable information (both positive and negative). Again, let me reiterate that recruiting is situational and that should dictate the types of questions you ultimately ask.
Questions you might ask your prospect:
- Can you walk me through what happens next for you?
- What are two or three things that you wish you could change about our campus now that you’ve seen it?
- What did your parents say about the visit during your trip home?
- Do you feel like there’s something you’re going to try and pay attention to better on your visit to another school?
- Did your visit to our school change anything about your timeline?
- Are you planning to visit any other colleges right now?
- What do you think the best part about living on our campus would be?
- If you came back for another visit here, what would you want to see or experience again?
- What are your parents telling you to do at this point in the process?
- What do we need to talk about before you will consider taking that next step? (Ex. applying)
- What do you want to see us talk about next?
- Are you feeling like you’re ready to commit to our school?
Questions you might ask the parents:
- What advice did you give _____ after the visit?
- What did you talk about the most as a family on the way home?
- As his/her parent, what were the big positives that stuck out to you about your visit to our campus?
- If _____ ended up picking another college, why do you think that would be now that you’ve visited our campus?
- What surprised you the most about our campus?
- As his/her parent, what do you see as the next step in the decision making process?
If you need clarification on any of these questions, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Each one of them holds the possibility of really giving you some valuable insights into how your prospects and parents are viewing, not only your institution, but for that matter you. Based on their answers, you can then develop what your next set of actions with that prospect and family needs to be.
P.S. If you have an effective question that works really well would you mind emailing it to me?
P.P.S. If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your colleagues and friends