by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
Have you ever gone to a restaurant where you’ve asked the waiter or waitress for a recommendation? If you travel frequently and like to sample the local cuisine instead of the national chains like I do, you probably do this a lot.
Why is that? Is it because you have absolutely no idea what to order, or is it because you’ve heard great things about the restaurant and you want to know what your server (who’s likely sampled most if not all of the menu) thinks is good?
If you’re like me, it’s the latter.
We’re looking for reassurance that we’ve chosen the best spot in town to get a meal, and we also want help making our decision.
In a nutshell, we’re looking for some confidence from someone we deem as credible as we attempt to make a smart choice.
This same idea applies to your prospects as they navigate through the college search process. Your prospect is you, and the restaurant is your college or university. How you react to their requests (as well as that of their parents) will play a major part in what they think of you and your school as well as how they choose to move forward.
At the core, your prospects are looking for you to possess confidence. In the early stages of the recruiting cycle they don’t have it yet. I can assure you however that they’re looking for it. They need you to be confident.
For many prospective students we find that it’s one of the key links in the recruiting process – especially if your school isn’t starting out as one of their early favorites.
The reason they need confidence from you is quite simple. When you begin cultivating your recruiting relationship, your confidence may be the thing that helps separate you from the competition, or it may be the only thing that keeps you in the conversation. Your prospect needs a reason to move to the next step of the relationship. Time and time again we’ve seen our clients keep prospects engaged by showing confidence and passion in their emails, letters, phone calls and face-to-face interactions.
Confidence can come about in many different ways. Here are a few.
- When you consistently keep in touch with your prospects. We’ve talked to lots of students on college campuses during our workshops who tell us that a major reason they ended up choosing their school was the fact that the counselor there was the most consistent in terms of keeping in touch with them. They equated that commitment, when it came to recruiting letters and emails, to a confidence in their institution.
- When you speak with enthusiasm during recruiting phone calls. We’re finding that prospects are paying close attention to the tone and pace of admissions counselors when they converse with them on the phone. Do you speak with enthusiasm and exude pride because you’re genuinely excited to explain to the prospect why your school is that “right fit?” Or, do you stumble around, not really sure of what to talk about thus leaving your recruit feeling like you’d rather be doing something else? It may seem small, but things such as these accentuate your confidence on the phone.
- During the campus visit you prove you’re knowledgeable about how your school can deliver on your prospect’s wants and needs. When recruits visit your campus they’re most likely nervous and searching for things that differentiate you from the other schools they’ve already visited. You, your admissions colleagues, and even your student hosts need to demonstrate confidence by speaking positively and passionately about your campus (even the parts that you’ve talked about hundreds of time before). You need to make it clear why you value him or her as a member of your school’s student body and how you and others on campus will help them achieve their long-term goals once they arrive. Those repeated little moments of confident assurance will add up in your favor in the mind of your recruit – especially late in the process when a decision is looming.
The examples I’ve given have only scratched the surface. There are many unique instances of confidence-boosting acts and statements based on your circumstance and your personality. It’s up to you to identify those situations.
This is the ideal time of year to look into becoming a client of Tudor Collegiate Strategies. Our Admissions Recruiting Advantage program provides yearlong assistance. For an overview of what the program does and how it works, email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org