By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
According to some studies, the average human attention span is approximately 8 seconds.
When social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat were first launched many people just couldn’t get enough. There was non-stop downloading, liking, retweeting, and following of friends and celebrities.
The growth was massive, but recent studies have found that people are spending less time on social media apps, in some cases significantly less. More and more people are starting to get tired.
They suffer from something that Dan (Tudor) and I refer to as discovery fatigue. I’m bringing this to your attention today because this ties in with the way your prospects take in the recruiting messages you and your school send them.
This generation of students has been conditioned to receive information in a certain way and in certain amounts. How you give them information is almost as important as the information you give them.
So, how do you ensure that your recruiting messaging isn’t wearing out your prospect? Here are four things I want you want to measure immediately:
- The amount of information you give them at the beginning. The majority of prospective students aren’t ready to take in the massive amount of information that many colleges unload on them in the early stages. One of the surest ways to alienate a prospective student today is to give them a long list of statistics, facts, figures and random talking points about your school, your academic programs, etc. In fact, we’ve found that colleges who take this approach almost instantly see their prospects tune them out for future conversations. The goal early in the process should be to generate a response and get a back-and-forth conversation going. If that didn’t happen this past cycle, check the amount of information you’re piling on.
- This generation is busy. How are you making the college search process easier for them? Along with a general fatigue, there’s another important element to how your emails and letters may be making them feel: If they’re busy, which you and I both know they are, it diminishes their desire to want more information. Making the process (and the conversations that come with it) easier for them is a simple way to make you and your school stand out. When was the last time you asked yourself, “How do I make the college search process easy for this student?” Remember, ultimately your prospect is looking for help solving a number of different problems. If you help with that you’ll gain their trust and loyalty.
- A project without any end is exhausting. “How much more am I going to need to do?” That’s one of the key questions most of your prospects tell us they ask themselves as they move through the recruiting cycle. When they don’t know how much is left to do, or when it needs to be done by, it’s mentally exhausting. Give your prospects timeline markers and always outline the next steps clearly.
- The amount of information you give them later on. After they’ve been admitted and financial aid award letters have been released, your prospects need logical points to reference. Giving your prospects these later in the process will help them differentiate your school from your competitors, and it will also help them justify the decision to hopefully choose your school. Too many admission counselors tend to stop relaying facts and reasons to commit as they get towards the end of the process. That’s when prospects and their parents need your information the most…even if you think they already know everything about your school. You need to give them a slow, consistent flow of information throughout the recruiting process that explains why your school is the “right fit.”
Discovery fatigue is real, and it can drastically affect how prospective students absorb information from you and other colleges.
Do you have a question about this article or some other aspect of student recruitment, leadership, or professional/personal development? I’m happy to HELP YOU if you’ll let me. You can anonymously ask me a question right here in our Reader Q & A. Or you can email me your question directly.