By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
Today’s article is another quick read. The idea for it came after a conversation I had yesterday in Philadelphia at the eduWeb Digital Summit. Enjoy!
The most successful admissions counselors I know are able to get prospective students (and parents) to communicate more with them throughout the college search process than they do with their counterparts at other schools.
A big reason for that is their ability to consistently lead the conversation and ask effective questions. These are questions where the student reveals their wants, needs, fears, concerns, likes, and dislikes. They do that because the question asks for their opinion or input, and makes them feel valued. And they’re more likely to share and open up if you’ve developed some trust and rapport.
In addition to knowing what kinds of questions to ask at various stages of the college search process, it’s just as important to understand how to build on the engagement you’re getting. One of the best ways to do that is by asking personalized follow up questions. The goal with follow up questions should be to dig a little deeper and get the “why” behind something.
Follow up questions also show that you’re listening and you care. Interestingly enough, a lot of admissions counselors tell me they don’t typically ask follow up questions. If that sounds like you, I encourage you to make a change.
Here are four great follow up questions that continue to work well in a number of different situations are:
- Why is that important to you?
- What does that mean?
- Can you help me understand that better?
- Talk to me more about that.
Asking the right kinds of questions and follow up questions is an important skill that needs to be cultivated and consistently put into practice. Doing it will help you keep the process moving forward. Not doing it can delay a student from taking the next step.
If you’re looking for other effective questions that you can ask, click this link to read past articles that I’ve written on the topic. And if you’ve got a really good question or follow up question that generates good engagement I’d love to know what it is. Reply back and let me know.