By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
Just about every time I’m on a campus leading a staff training workshop I get asked about common recruiting mistakes that have big consequences.
Of all the mistakes you can make, inconsistent communication is something that can quickly slow down a student’s process.
That’s because you’re dealing with a generation of students that uses texting, instant messaging, and DM’s on social networking sites daily. They’re used to instant communication and when they don’t get it, many view that as a sign they’re not important to the other person.
Think about all those emails and text messages you get from students and families, especially during fall travel season. Are your responses consistently timely? What about the frequency of your communications throughout the entire cycle? Is there a steady stream that uses the different communication mediums and gives students a predictable flow of information regardless of where they’re at in the process?
If your answer to any of those questions I just asked was no, there’s a high likelihood one or more of these three things will occur if they haven’t already:
- Students will become confused and wonder just how serious you are. When you send something every week or multiple times a week for a month and then a couple of weeks goes by without any communication, they start to think you’re not as serious about them anymore. Same thing goes if you communicate consistently up to the admitted stage and then all of sudden slow down. Inconsistent communication frequently leads them to misinterpret your interest level. It also causes them to wait to reach out to you when they do have questions or concerns, namely because that confusion leads to fear. The solution? Students continue to tell us in our surveys that they want some type of communication from a college they’re interested in every six to nine days regardless of where they’re at in the process.
- They’ll start to focus on schools that are more consistent. If they perceive you’re not as interested in them anymore, students tend to gravitate towards other schools and admissions counselors who are engaging with them with more often. That can be especially detrimental at the admitted and committed stages.
- It will be harder to get them to take action when you want/need it. A lot of colleges continue to find it difficult to get action (i.e. visit, apply, or deposit/commit) when there hasn’t been a consistent stream of communication. One random email, letter, phone call or text message isn’t going to be effective with the masses. Action occurs much easier, and quicker, when trust and connections are built. That takes time and a plan.
Prospective students at all stages are looking for proof that your school really wants them. One of the most effective ways comes in the form of consistent communication.
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