By Jeremy Tiers, Senior Director of Admissions Services
1 minute read
Here’s a question that multiple admissions counselors have asked me this month:
What’s the right language to use in my emails if I’m trying to get an inquiry to actually reply and have a conversation with me?
Assuming that you’ve got a good subject line to get their attention (it should create curiosity, sound helpful, or ask a question), it’s important to speak in a conversational tone, and to talk with the reader, not at them.
You need to introduce an idea you want them to focus on. It could be a topic related to some aspect of your student experience – the classroom environment, how much fun they’ll have living in the dorms, or how you help new students transition to college. Or, it could be something about the college search process like the importance of the campus visit.
Whatever you choose, the key is to focus on one central theme. Too many counselors make the mistake of scattering a lot of different topics into one email…which also makes the message way too long.
After you finish talking about the idea, ask them about it.
“How does that sound to you?”
“What’s the biggest question you have for me about living on campus?“
“What worries you most about being a freshman again?”
If you want a response, you need to directly ask your inquiries (or any other group of students) for one.
For adults, a back-and-forth natural conversation doesn’t usually require a lot of prompting. Your anxious, non-verbal teenager on the other hand doesn’t approach a conversation with you the same the way (especially if you’re still a “stranger” to them). You need to open the door and introduce the idea of a conversation…they need you to lead. And, giving them a central idea to focus on makes it a lot easier for them to know what to talk about with you.
Along with that, when you encourage students at any stage to engage with you, it feels more personal, and makes them feel like you care more.
I encourage you to test out this approach and then let me know how it goes.
If you found this article helpful, forward it to someone else in your campus community who could also benefit from reading it.