By Jeremy Tiers, Senior Director of Admissions Services
2 minute read
Over the past few weeks you’ve got new high school seniors, or new transfer students looking at a January start, who have shown interest in your school.
They’re interested, but many don’t know what to do or say next.
How are you creating opportunities for those students to open up and share their wants, concerns, and fears? It’s important because without knowing those things, it’s hard for you or your colleagues to provide the student with relevant information that feels personal and is helpful.
Here’s some advice you can use immediately to get them to talk, think and engage via email, text, or when they visit campus.
I want you to ask them what’s wrong, but probably not in the way that you’re thinking.
In this case, it’s about discovering what the wrong fit for college looks like for them.
For all of us, especially young people, it’s much easier to talk about negatives over positives – what we don’t want or don’t like versus what we do.
As your call to action or as a next step, consider asking one or more of these questions:
- “What’s the wrong way for a college to communicate with you?”
- “Tell me about the wrong type of college for you. What kinds of schools have you already eliminated from your list?”
- “What’s the wrong type of college location for you?
- “What does the wrong kind of classroom environment in college look like – What are some things you definitely don’t want?”
Asking them about what they see as the wrong fit or the wrong way to do something is another effective strategy that will get more students talking.
Don’t be surprised, though, if in some cases a student struggles to verbalize their thoughts. Be prepared to probe and lead the conversation further, and take it as a compliment. Chances are you just asked a question that they haven’t heard before, so they aren’t able to repeat a standard, memorized answer.
For those who don’t respond at all (or appear nervous in-person), follow up by explaining that there isn’t a penalty for being honest and open about how they feel. Remind them that you’re here to listen and offer support and that your goal is to help them find the college that’s the best fit for them….even if that’s not your school.
Got a question about something in this article? Go ahead and reply back or email me here.
And if you found this article helpful, I encourage you to forward it to someone else on your campus who could also benefit from reading it.