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How to Begin Telling Your School’s “Story”Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

Whenever we go to lead one of our On-Campus Workshops for a college admissions department, a big part of our job is helping them to develop their “story”.

I think stories are vital to the student recruitment process. And just to be clear, when I say “story” I’m not talking about your marketing materials. Much of that information is dull and uninspiring…your students continue to tell us those exact words.

The stories I’m referring to are a crucial ingredient in your recruiting communication flow. They talk about things like the people on your campus (students, faculty) and your community. They create emotion for your prospects, and they help them visualize themselves on your campus and in your classroom.

So, what’s your “story” that you want this next class to buy into? Have you sat back and considered what kind of picture you’re painting for your prospect in their head through your recruiting materials, phone calls and even on-campus visits?

If you’ve never seriously thought about your “story” before, and need help in creating it so that you can be a more effective recruiter, today I’m going to pass along some critical questions that your admissions team should ask each other. The answers will help you find out what’s unique about your institution and how to present it as a compelling story that any prospective student will want to hear more of:

  1. What are your prospects demanding?  Here’s a hint: It’s not always about the money, so don’t make that the focus.  If you’re a frequent reader of this newsletter, or you’ve had me on campus to lead a workshop, you know students continue to tell us that personal relationships with you and other students on your campus impact how they will make their final college decision much more than being affordable. They demand attention, and they demand benefits that revolve around them.  What can you do to “meet their demand”?
  2. What do your prospects need?  A really good financial aid package?  Yes.  A degree?  Of course.  To see themselves “fitting in” on your campus?  All the time.  Ask yourself what your prospects need, and you will go a long way towards reaching them with a message – a story – that they will identify with.  Remember: “Needs” are different than “demands”.  Their needs revolve around the realities that they are facing and are necessary for them to overcome those hurdles.  And in most cases different prospects have different needs. Figure out a way to meet their needs (that’s what they care about, anyway…their needs, not yours).
  3. What are they willing to pay for?  This is a challenging and in-depth question. What is it that your prospects view as being a “premium” feature of your school that if they had to pay for it, they would be happy to do so? For example, it might be the brand new dorms or the ability to be a part of the sports culture or the Greek system on your campus (if you have it). Each of those things is a tangible “premium” item that your prospects might be willing to pay for if they had to.  Understanding what the most valuable parts that your college offers them in their eyes is a big key in developing a great recruiting story.
  4. What niche(s) can your school offer that others don’t?  Earlier this month I worked with a university that is developing a specialized niche in the way they prepare their freshmen students to successfully transition to college life. Take a look at what kind of “specialty” niche you can put together for your prospects. What can you offer them on your campus that most of your competitors don’t?  Find an area that other colleges are failing to focus on, and build out that unique brand for your prospect.
  5. Who are the people behind your institution?  I don’t mean just your school’s President. I mean who else on your campus can your prospects connect with on a personal level? A big key as you tell those people’s “story” is to be genuine. Don’t embellish so much that down the line it becomes clear to your prospects or their parents that this person isn’t really who you’ve painted them as. And also don’t forget your audience either because you don’t want to necessarily tell the same “story” to everyone. The goal is for your “story” to be personal and have emotion built into it.

Asking these five questions can help your admissions team develop the beginnings of a great recruiting strategy.

If you want to achieve emotional engagement, which is a critical part in today’s student decision-making process, effective storytelling is a must.

Ready to take the next step?  Become a client of Tudor Collegiate Strategies. Let us help you develop and execute your story saving you time and increasing your yield results. Click here for more details. Our system works, and we’d love to tell you why.

4 Things to Avoid During Your First Contact with RecruitsMonday, August 29th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 10.35.47 PMAs I’ve explained many coaches over the years, coaches are “process oriented”.

Most of you have instinctively developed a mental to-do list with new prospects: What you want to see happen, in what order, and by what time.

And therein lies the problem. Not the fact that you want to systematically move them through your process…we’re all for that! We’re big on systematically approaching the recruiting process. No, the problems surface when a coach starts going “out of order” in terms of what the prospect is looking for early in the process. It’s a problem because unlike a college coach, who has been through this process a few hundred times and is almost numb to the emotional and mental challenges it presents to a teenager, your recruits have developed an unwritten list of things that seem odd to them when a coach approaches them.

I want to do my part in putting at least a few of those rules in writing. Here are four of the things that I would recommend a coach not try to accomplish early on in the recruiting process (especially during the first contact with a new recruit):

  1. Avoid asking them who else they are considering, or which other programs have contacted them so far. Too much, too soon. That’s privileged information in the eyes of most of your recruits, and you haven’t yet earned the relationship capital to spend on that question yet. Look for a time later on in the process when they offer up a suggestion of either what they’re looking for in a college, or make reference to any kind of negative experience associated with visiting another school or talking to another coach. That will give you the green light to gently approach the subject.
  2. Avoid asking them to come visit campus. On the first phone call, or during any kind of one-on-one, back-and-forth conversations, do not tell them “I want you to come to campus”, or “When can you come to campus?”. When you do that, it jumps several spaces ahead on their recruiting game board, and doesn’t seem natural to them…kind of like asking someone you just met on the first day of high school to go to the prom in the Spring. It doesn’t seem right in the eyes of most recruits. Only bring it up once you have either a) spent two or three conversations asking them questions and getting to know them, or b) they bring it up (that would apply to their parents, as well). Jump on this too early, and you’ll seem disingenuous an too hurried, according to our research.
  3. Avoid the idea that you shouldn’t talk to the parents first. Coaches who try talking to the parents first uncover something rather surprising: They actually get information. The parents are usually more prepared to talk early on, and it takes some of the pressure and anxiety away from the prospect. You can always say hi to the recruit at the end of the phone call, but there’s nothing wrong with spending the majority of that first call with a parent on the phone. By the way, you should remember who will likely be in charge of getting an application turned in, scheduling a visit, and talking about an offer or financial aid offer: That’s right, mom and dad. So would it be such a bad thing to separate yourself from all the other coaches who will ignore this advice?
  4. Avoid small talk. I’ve saved the best for last here, Coach: You know, the kind of stuff that makes it sound like you and the teenager on the phone have been besties for the last few years? Don’t do it. Nothing is more awkward than when an older adult who the recruit doesn’t know well tries to “connect” with a teenager by talking about movies, what apps they’re into, or if they have a boyfriend or girlfriend. Prospects will answer the questions politely, more than likely, but then they’ll come back and talk about you in one of our focus groups and describe how ‘weird’ it was when you did it. So don’t do it. Let them introduce small talk, and then respond to it. Simple rule, and it works, Coach. Your first contact or two should highlight what you like about them athletically, how you see them possibly fitting into your program, and finding out as much as possible about how they see themselves going through the recruiting process.

Sometimes, it’s easier to avoid missteps than worry about a list of universal to-do’s during a first contact – and if it makes you feel any better, there isn’t any universal to-do list for your first contact with a recruit.

Avoid these mistakes, and watch what it does for the rest of your recruiting conversation with this prospect class.

Want more specific insights into how to best approach the recruiting process early on, and at the end? Sign-up for Tudor University, our popular online learning tool for college coaches. We’ll take you through a challenging, but insightful, training and certification course. It’s a small but effective investment in your coaching career, and will give you the edge in your upcoming recruiting battles. Click here for all the details.

The Scientific Method: Anyone Can Do It!Monday, August 29th, 2016

bill_headshot_dantudorBill Lynch, Front Rush

Today we’re going to talk about how the Scientific Method translates to coaching.  I know everyone has learned about this topic in school at one point or another, but it doesn’t hurt to get a refresher –  especially when I’m positive you already use it in your daily lives, even if you don’t actively know it.

Definition

Let’s talk about the definition real quick.

The Scientific Method

It is a process that is used to find answers to questions about the world using measurable evidence.

In other words, it’s a way to answer questions using data.

The Origin Story

In 16th century Italy one of the most famous thinkers in history, Galileo Galilee, wondered whether two differently weighted objects would hit the ground at the same time if dropped together from the same height.

Back in the day the philosopher and scientist Aristotle said a heavier object would hit the ground first, but Galileo wasn’t convinced. So he designed an experiment to test his belief that both objects would hit the ground at the same time.  

He walked up to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and dropped a heavy sphere and a light sphere off of the tower at the same time.

And boom goes the dynamite, they both hit the ground together, proving his theory.

How does the Scientific Method Apply to You?

Dan_tudor2

Ask a Question

Take a second to think about a question you would like answered.  

This could be something along the lines of “Which player is faster than the other?”, “When is the best time to email my recruits?”, “What’s the best play to run given a certain game situation?”, or “What’s the quickest route to work?” to name a few.  

You go through the same motions with all of these questions, no matter how different they seem to one another on the surface.

Make a hypothesis

For each of those questions and for the question you thought of on your own, we already have a hunch as to what the answer may be.

We may think we know the answer, that “A is faster than B”, or “Emailing during lunchtime is the best if you want a response”, or “Punt on 4th and long” but we want to be sure.  Those are our hypotheses and we’re going to prove them one way or the other.

Test the hypothesis with an experiment

The way to prove if our beliefs are true or not is with an experiment.

I am part of the school of thought that simpler is better, and it often holds true with the scientific method.  You don’t need to have a crazy formula or experiment designed to draw insightful conclusions.

Most of the time analyzing averages and counts will suffice because they’re easy to analyze and causality is usually clear.

For instance…

  • To find out if “A is faster than B” we can check their average times in the 40m/60m/100m/etc.  
  • To find out which time of day is best to get a response from a recruit, take notes for a week or two on the open rate of emails, count them up, and see which hours yield the highest open rate.  
  • To find out if you should “Punt on 4th and long” or run another play, see how many times not punting on 4th and long worked for you or see how many times punting on 4th and long led to a 3 and out on the other end.

Come to a conclusion, and Communicate the Results

Now take a look at the data you compiled.  If we’re working with counts, look at the value with the highest count. If we’re working with averages, take the one with the highest average.

From that information, you might start player A over B, send emails out at lunchtime, and become more confident that punting on 4th and long is the way to go most of the time.

You just used the scientific method. You…

  1. Thought of a question
  2. Stated your beliefs
  3. Gathered data and tested it with an experiment
  4. Came to a conclusion and communicated your results

Everywhere you look, information is being captured, quantified, and used to make decisions.  Feedback from even a few experiments can yield immediate results. Also as we’ve demonstrated today, you don’t have to be using sabermetrics to find insights in your data, but it’s worth brushing up on the basics of quantitative analysis.

Remember, anyone can do it!

Do You Really Know What Your Prospects Are Thinking?Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

Prospective students think differently than you do. But you know this…or do you?

I ask because a surprising number of admissions counselors that I talk to don’t realize it, and it’s preventing them from becoming dominant recruiters.

Many of you are concerned with your school’s history, your school’s location, and other “stuff” as you build-out your recruiting story for your prospects. Oh, and you need to be able to offer a better financial aid package every time too, right?  Otherwise there’s just no way that you can get more prospects to visit your campus or increase your enrollment.

In the majority of cases, that kind of thinking is flat-out wrong.

I can tell you that with confidence because we’ve had the chance to personally interview hundreds and hundreds of your students over the years.  They’ve told us how they make their final decision, and what matters most to them.  In the end, if you look at the data it’s obvious that your prospects value things differently than you do.

Let me give you some common examples:

  • They think how you treat them and communicate with them is more important than what your dorm rooms looks like. Personal relationships rank higher than your on-campus student housing, no matter how new the dorms may be, time after time.
  • They think the way your students treat them during their campus visit will tell them if your campus makes them feel wanted and if they can fit in. If other students (not just the tour guides) aren’t friendly and welcoming when your prospect is touring campus, the chances that prospect will end up enrolling at your school take a significant hit.
  • They think their parents are very important to the decision making process. In many cases this generation of students rely on their parents to help them make any major decision. If you aren’t recruiting the parents at the same time you recruit their child, you are making recruiting harder than it needs to be.
  • They think that you talk too much during your phone calls. Don’t take it personally, but if you’re doing most of the talking during any phone call you have with a prospective student, you’re hurting your school’s chances. If doesn’t matter how important you think the information you’re giving them is, more time talking does not equal more interest from your prospect.
  • They think your emails and letters are too long and look and sound the same as every other college that’s sending them stuff. Your prospects tell us that they scan those email and letters versus reading them from start to finish.  They also tell us that most of the information is boring and not personalized enough.
  • They think it’s great when you ask questions about their wants and their needs versus just selling your school. Make sure you’re making it more about getting to know them rather than selling your school or your academic program right away.
  • They love it when you write them personal, hand-written letters and post cards.
    They’ll read every word of a hand-written note you send to them. They tell us as much, because they understand that hand-written notes take more of your time. In their minds they think that means you put a higher value on them than other prospects. And would you be surprised to also learn that your prospects tell us they wonder what you thought of them after that first phone call or visit to campus. Yet another great opportunity to send them a personal note.
  • Social media matters to them and they think you don’t do a good enough job of using it to your advantage. This is one of the biggest pieces of advice that your students offer up when we ask them what your admissions department needs to do better in terms of how you communicate with this next class you’re now recruiting. One student summed it up best when she said, “Be more where we are”.

Are there exceptions to these rules?  Of course. But I’ll guarantee you that the majority of the prospects you just started recruiting think this way.

If you’re on board and now wondering what you can do to change the way that you communicate and recruit this next class, here are some quick tips:

  • Simplify your communication with them.  Be more direct and to the point.  That’s what they want.
  • Communicate through multiple channels consistently and effectively. Develop messages that allow you to get, and keep, back-and-forth conversations going.
  • Ask them questions that other admissions counselors avoid or don’t believe need to be discussed. Topics such as fear and their timeline.

Now is the time to start matching your communication with what your prospects are thinking.  Once you do, recruiting will get a lot easier.

Want more engagement from prospective students? It starts here!

Overlooked Foundations of Recruiting (and Tree Houses)Monday, August 22nd, 2016

 

I’m not an expert tree house builder.

In fact, this is my first attempt at building a tree house. You do these kinds of things when you have a ten year old son.

Don’t get me wrong: If you stand back, tilt your head just right, and squint to kind of make it all blurry, it looks perfect. It supports the weight of a 200 pound man (that’s me in the first picture…easily identified by my K-Swiss tennis shoes). It’ll get the job done.

But it’s far from perfect.

So, what went wrong? One of the corners of the platform didn’t have a perfect 90-degree angle. Which means all the other corners don’t have perfect 90-degree angles, which some (most?) contractors and construction pros would argue is a recipe for disaster when it comes to how your project is going to end up looking.

And as you can tell, my project is going to end up looking like…well, like it was built by someone who was not an expert tree house builder. It’ll get the job done, but it’s not going to win any award.

Which brings me to you, Coach:

For most of the programs we begin work with as clients, there are a few less than perfect 90-degree angles in their recruiting strategy. They’re getting the job done, and recruits are coming to their program, but maybe not in the numbers that they really need. And maybe not the quality they were hoping for. And maybe it was a little more stressful than they feel that it should be.

That’s the result of a poor foundation. It looks ugly when you’re building a tree house, and it can be even uglier when you apply that idea to recruiting strategies.

Now, if you’ve been reading our blog for a while, this is where you might expect me to start talking about consistent messaging, engaging the parents the right way, or asking for the sale. But instead, I want to focus on a few overlooked aspects of building a solid recruiting foundation for your program:

Ask them how often they want to talk to you

A lot of coaches assume that just because they are ‘allowed’ to talk to a recruit more frequently, they should.

But that’s not the case. In fact, in one of our recent focus group research studies, only 27% said that they wanted to be talking to coaches who are recruiting them once every week. That means that 73% of the prospects you are probably recruiting right now chose some other time range that was different than once per week.

Doesn’t it make sense to ask your recruit how often they want to talk back and forth with you?

Focus on your fourth message

Most coaches around the country put a lot of time and attention into their first message out to recruits. And, the second and third messages get a lot of attention, too.

But when you get to the fourth message, we find that things start to go down hill. Quickly.

IF there is a fourth message, it starts to bore a recruit. Or it sounds the same as all the others. Or, it starts sounding like the coach who sent it doesn’t really know what to talk about.

What if you and your coaching staff put the same energy and creative effort into messages 4, 5, 6 and beyond? The results might surprise you. You’ll find that today’s generation of recruits will actually continue to talk and engage with you over the long haul if your message is creating curiosity and talking about aspects of your program that you haven’t reviewed before.

Establish when they’ll make their decision

One of the things we’re really starting to spend a lot of time on when we conduct our multi-day recruiting workshop on a college campus is the idea of establishing a fair but firm deadline, and then leading a prospect through the process in order to make a decision before that deadline.

Most coaches are a little apprehensive about establishing a fairly firm deadline, mainly because it takes away a coaches’ flexibility and options. That might be true, but not doing it can give your prospect license to procrastinate, put off a visit to your campus, or suddenly add another school to visit around the time you thought they were going to give you their decision.

Agree on a time when they will make their decision – especially if it can be months in advance, to give them plenty of time to go through the process. You’ll be viewed as fair, and you’ll be able to get a much better idea of how serious your prospect actually is about your program.

As you begin a new recruiting campaign, take some time to search for areas that you might be overlooking, or haven’t revised in a while.

They are your 90-degree angles that need to be as close to perfect as possible. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a recruiting plan that looks like the tree house I’m in the process of trying to put together. And trust me, there are better ways to do it.

 

You Used TO Call Me On My Home PhoneMonday, August 22nd, 2016

chrisMby Chris Mateer, Front Rush

The recruitment process requires a fine balance between maintaining contact and giving the student-athlete room to breathe. As a coach, the last thing you want is to go too long without maintaining some form of contact. At the same time, too many calls can become intrusive, especially considering a senior-athlete’s busy schedule. Luckily, the rise of email, text, social media, and, yes, even Snapchat, have given both coaches and student athletes more flexibility than ever in how they go about the recruitment process. These relatively new forms communication leave coaches with countless decisions to make regarding how to contact a recruit. We’ll stick to addressing just one of these decisions today though: when do you pick up the phone and make the call and when do you simply press “send”?

When to Call

It seems growingly unpopular among high schoolers to make phone calls to anyone who isn’t a family member above the age of 40 on a day that isn’t a birthday. Simply put, talking on the phone isn’t convenient or efficient. It requires making conversation and enduring that occasional awkward moment when you both start talking at once and feel like you interrupted each other. Despite this, almost every coach considers making calls a vital component of the recruitment process.

Calls let your prospects know, for however long you’re on the phone, your attention is on them. For a high schooler, the importance of this cannot be understated. In some regards, the inconvenience of a phone call are its strengths. A call lets your recruits know that you thought of them and took the time out of your evening to make that call.

Calls also give a great glimpse into you as a person and as a coach. Use this time to laugh, ask questions, and get to really know your recruits. Among all the spreadsheets, stats, and online profiles, you’re still recruiting a person.

When to Text

Voicemail is mostly a thing of the past. Leaving a message is a nice formality, but the response rate is not great. If the recruit doesn’t answer the phone, send a text. More often than not, this results in an almost immediate response. Usually (and hopefully) it will be a quick “Hey Coach! Sorry I missed your call, out at Chipotle with the team. Can you talk tomorrow?”. Boom, mission accomplished. Other times, you’ll be less lucky and that response will give you a quick heads up that your time is best spent elsewhere. Some recruits will just ignore calls, but will feel more comfortable letting you know they’re not interested or committed elsewhere via text. Don’t worry, there are other fish in the sea and this will save a lot of time and effort in the long run.  

Beyond following up on a missed call, texts can provide that opportunity to strike the sweet spot between maintaining contact and not overwhelming your recruits. Sending over a quick check-in between calls asking how school is going, how their offseason conditioning has progressed, or how a low-key competition went is the perfect time to check in with your recruits. These texts will provide good talking points when making that next call and let your recruits know you’re still interested.

 

Do You Excel at These 7 Things?Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

All summer long I’ve offered you a series of articles that I hope will aid in your professional development.

Remember, doing some critical self-evaluation is important if you want to improve a particular skill and ultimately become a more dominant admissions professional.

One of the most popular parts of our On-Campus Training Workshops is the 1-on-1-counselor consultation. During these meetings a couple of counselors always ask me what skills and traits I believe separate a high performing counselor/recruiter from an average one.

If you’re expecting to see words like “organized,“ “friendly,” and “good communicator,” that’s not where this list is going. Those are givens. Instead, I’m going to share some skills and characteristics that I see consistently, not just in admissions counselors who excel, but also in nearly every elite business professional that I’ve ever met.

How good are you at these 7 things?

  1. Problem solver. It’s crucial that you possess the ability to both discover problems and develop solutions. Remember, you’re dealing with teenagers and young adults who want to have their problems (chiefly – how to pick the right college and how to pay for it) solved. It starts by asking effective questions at the right time.  If you can’t do that, you’ll miss out on opportunities to solve problems and separate yourself and your school from the competition.
  2. Translator. Don’t ever, ever assume that an 18 or 21-year old student, and quite possibly many of their parents, know what FAFSA, PPY, EFC, COA, ROI, Early Action and Rolling Admission all mean. You will need to translate those industry terms into layman’s terms, quite possibly more than once. You’ll also need to do so in such a way that doesn’t make your prospect or their parents feel incompetent.
  3. Listener. One of the bigger mistakes I continue to see a lot of admissions counselors make is they give information before they get information. They provide more information than is necessary, and in many cases, they give out the wrong information (based on their prospect’s wants and needs). Want to know how to determine if you’re a good listener? The good ones, and I mean the really good ones, ask effective questions that get their prospects to not only reveal their “wants” and “don’t wants” but also how they would like the college search process to play itself out.
  4. Closer. Simply put, effective “closers” (those who turn admits into deposits) understand it’s about the relationship just as much as it is about the sale. Selling is about building a relationship with your prospect (and their parents) throughout the recruitment cycle. When you consistently prove you’re a resource and come up with ways to answer their wants and needs, you develop trust and loyalty. That will lead to positive outcomes.
  5. Empathy. Some people are born with this skill while others have to develop it over time. Truly understanding your prospect, their life situation, fears, motivations, and dreams isn’t an easy thing. The counselors that struggle with this skill are generally the ones that are more concerned with what they need from their prospects and not what their prospects want from them. Let your recruit know that you understand his or her “want” and have a solution to satisfy that “want.”
  6. Always look to improve. With success often comes comfort. When a person reaches a goal, there can be a tendency to assume that if they repeat the exact same steps again it will produce the same results. It’s a common mistake. Those that rise to the top value both positive and negative feedback and are willing to invest to improve their skills and attitudes. Be proactive, and seek out learning opportunities.
  7. Remain passionate. It’s a magical word that can help you win over recruits. As I’ve said before, passion is not an act and is hard to fake. Real passion for who you are and what your institution provides can make all the difference in the world.  Passion will lead to meaningful long-term relationships with your prospects (and their parents) every single time.

If you’d like to talk in greater detail about one or more of these critical skills and attributes, and how you can incorporate them into your recruiting strategy, don’t hesitate to email me directly at jeremy@dantudor.com

Browsing For BrowsersMonday, August 15th, 2016

IMG_2590 (1)by Josh DiCristo, Front Rush

Have you ever heard from a student athlete that a website you’ve sent them to isn’t displaying correctly or looks wrong? Usually the first question is “What browser are you using?”. Some websites will even ask the question for you – they greet you with a message telling you to switch browsers for a better viewing experience. No “Hi there!” or “How was your day?”, instead you get, “Please use Google Chrome”.

Rude.

It’s a strange request, the first time you see it. You’d think that the internet is a massive, global network so surely it can all be accessed in some global way. Why are there multiple browsers, anyway? The same question could be applied to Mac vs. PC or iPhone vs. Android – all browsers are built slightly differently and are better for slightly different uses. So when you’re scouring the internet hunting for wild recruits (okay, I know that’s not exactly how it works but just let me have my fantasy), what browsers should you use?

Chrome

Chrome is arguably the most reliable web browser as well as the most current. Though it’s updated about as often as Firefox, it’s ability to keep up with trends is greater than any of its competitors. That is to say: when in doubt, the site will work on Chrome. Chrome is the overall winner when it comes to speed and performance and also allows the most opportunity for personalization through chrome extensions. Like this one, which changes every image on your page to a picture of Nicolas Cage. Hey, I never said all of the extensions were useful.

Microsoft Edge

Edge is the newest browser on the market so you’re forgiven if you haven’t heard of it. Replacing Internet Explorer as the default browser on PCs starting with Windows 10, Edge is remarkably efficient when it comes to battery usage and is fast when it has to load simple pages. If you’re frequently visiting sites with lots of features however, you may want to look elsewhere. Considering it’s the newest browser on the market, its speed and reliability is impressive, though it’s not first place. Give it a few years and maybe it’ll be near the top.

Internet Explorer (IE)

With the release of Edge, updates for IE have ceased. You’re probably fine to keep using it for now, but it was always the slowest and least adaptive browser in the first place and it’s just going to get worse as time goes on. In a year, you might as well sit at your computer and yell, “SHOW ME CAT PICTURES” rather than use IE to search for it. Actually, in a few years voice-controlled computers could be a thing. That’s not as crazy as it seems.

What I’m saying is don’t use Internet Explorer.

Netscape Navigator

Your computer is legally old enough to drink. Get a new one.

Firefox

Firefox is built in a different language compared to other browsers on this list, so when it converts a page from code to a display on your window, don’t be surprised if the page seems a little… off. The browser is fast (though not the fastest), reliable (though not the most reliable), efficient (though not the most efficient, but it makes a strong case), and will keep your personal internet data safe (actually, it’s the best at that). There’s a fair share of pros with Firefox so, like all browsers, it really depends on your usage. If you left your charger at home and you’re scared of WikiLeaks, this might be the choice for you.

Safari

Safari doesn’t eat up nearly as much battery power as it’s competitors and it’s just as fast, but you’ll see some of the same issues as Firefox when it comes to webpages displaying incorrectly. In addition to that, not all features will load properly on Safari. Although if you love Apple products and live in an Apple household and have debated legally changing your name to begin with a lowercase ‘i’, then you’ll enjoy Safari for how it interacts with your other devices. Otherwise, you may find other browsers more reliable if you depend on the internet for your day-to-day.

Opera

Oh, Opera. The most popular web browser in Sub-Saharan Africa and Bangladesh (that’s true). Look, Opera’s actually a really good option when it comes to speed, performance, personalization*, reliability, privacy, your webpages will look normal, blah blah blah, but be honest with me. Did you know Opera was even a web browser before you read this article? You won’t have any problems if you use Opera, I’ll give you that. Just know that when you ask your nephew for help with your internet, he’s just going to download Chrome and call it a day.

AOL CD-ROM

Honestly I’m just impressed that your computer still has a CD-ROM drive. If I give you the tracklist, can you burn me a mix CD? Don’t worry, you can find most of the songs on Napster.

*Want to know why Opera is good at personalization? Because Opera allows you to download and use any Google Chrome extension on their browser. Cheaters.

Helping Your Prospects Wake-Up From Their Summer DoldrumsTuesday, August 9th, 2016

Think it’s hard for you to get back into the swing of things heading into a new school year, Coach?

It can be even harder for your prospects.

They’ve been working out or playing in tournaments, and they’re burned out. They’ve been on vacation, and they don’t want to face the reality of going back to school. And even if they are coming back to that reality, the last thing they want to start doing is begin making hard decisions about college and their future. It’s much easier to put all of that off, not think about about it, and see if they can drag out the lazy, care-free days of Summer.

That means it’s your job, as a college coach and as a recruiter, to get them to re-focus on the recruiting process. And preferably, get them to to place the bulk of that focus on you.

So as we begin the time of the year when coaches and their college programs rev-up for another year, I wanted to pass along several key engagement strategies we’ve seen work coming out of the Summer and into a new Fall season:

You MUST talk about something new. For recruits that you’ve been talking to for any amount of time, now is the time to introduce something new into the conversation. Our studies are showing that while continuing to tell a consistent, compelling broader story to your recruits, your personal conversations with prospects should offer something different heading out of Summer. Now is the time when your recruits are looking for new reasons to continue to talk to you one-on-one.

They’re looking for that “next step”. Coming out of Summer, teenage athletes tell us that they often feel a little stuck. They want to look smart in continuing to talk with you, and they want to know what to do next as you continue to recruit them, but they aren’t sure what’s right. That’s why many of you experience what feels like disinterest from your prospects this time of year; the thing is, it’s not that they’re not interested…they just don’t know what should happen next. Never forget that you’ve been through this process before, but they haven’t. Be a guide.

It might be time to set a deadline. Or, at least a timeline that clearly establishes your expectations as to when a decision needs to be made. This is the easiest time of the year to do that, in the sense that it’s a natural calendar break (end of Summer, beginning of Fall and their new school year) which contributes to an overall feeling that new timelines make sense. In other words, when you start a conversation about deadlines or timelines that you want your prospects to pay attention to, doing it during this time period makes sense and ‘feels’ right to your recruits.

Outline your process for them. As an extension of the deadline and timeline conversation, take them inside your decision making process: Detail for them what you’ll be doing in evaluating them and other recruits this Fall, describe the type of prospect that you’re no longer recruiting (and why you stopped recruiting them), and make clear when you see yourself being done with recruiting. Prospects are craving this kind of behind-the-scenes information that help them understand they “why” behind some of your requests during the process.

Give the parents of your recruits a clear to-do list. One of the best ways to determine if your prospect is serious about you heading out of Summer is to find out if their parents are equally serious about you and your program. And the best way to do that is to give those parents a to-do list, and see if they respond. Some ideas: Tell them to help their son or daughter get their application submitted by a certain date, get back to you on a weekend that works for a visit to your campus, establish a regular time for you and they to talk to one another during the Fall, or ask them to email you a list of their questions about you, your college, or the process so that you can help them with answers.

Establish one clear selling point. One of the most difficult hurdles that your prospects face this time of year, as they talk to you and listen to your message (and the messages of your competitors), is trying to figure out how to define you. They need, and want, a one-line definition of you and your program that defines your main selling point. Once that’s established, you can certainly weave that into your program’s ongoing story to your recruits. Without it, you risk sounding like too many of your competitors: Too vanilla, no definition. Heading into this time of year, that can be the beginning of the end.

That last point needs to be emphasized. As recruits head out of Summer and into the Fall, there will come a point (soon) where they will want to start to whittle their choices down to make this whole process more manageable. Unless you give them smart reasons to define you and your program the right way, you allow them to make-up their own definition of you and your program. Do you really want to give that power over to them heading into this Fall?

This is an important time of year in the recruiting process, Coach. Make sure you establish yourself as a player heading into the Fall, and do it with a strategy in mind. If you do it correctly, you’ll be the coach that re-focuses your prospects heading out of the Summer.

Need help in defining your story for recruits? That’s what we do every week, every month and every year for our roster of clients. We do it using the latest research and communication techniques, and it works. If you want to take a different approach to your recruiting this year, contact Dan Tudor directly at dan@dantudor.com and ask him to explain how the process works, and why it is so effective.

What to Do Next After Your First Contacts Are DoneTuesday, August 9th, 2016

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

What’s your plan now?

Many admissions departments around the country have officially started the recruitment process with the next class of prospective students. The first emails and letters have been sent, and the first phone calls have been made.

If you’ve been asking the right kinds of questions, and you’re trying to understand your prospects’ individual wants and needs and not just selling your school, maybe you’ve even had some of them engage with you and begin the application process. If you’re shaking your head no, keep in mind it doesn’t have to be that way. We can help.

Regardless, you’re now faced with the daunting two-word question that worries even a veteran, confident college admissions recruiter: “What’s next?”

The answer to that question is critical. In fact, it will undoubtedly determine what kind of results you have in the months to come.

So, you tell me. What do you think should come next? It would be great if there was a simple, one-size-fits-all answer to that question…but there’s not. The answer will vary significantly from school to school.

Having said that, today I want to outline a few successful approaches that we’ve seen work on a consistent basis the past couple of years for our clients. As you read through each of these strategies and key questions, I want you to ask yourself how you can adapt them to your school and your specific situation:

How are you going to start to establish that your school is the smart choice? Our research has uncovered a surprising trend with this generation of students in terms of how they actually make their final decision – They have to justify it logically. It’s true that they can emotionally gravitate towards a college throughout the process, however, at some point in the later stages, either they or their parents start asking, “Is this a smart decision.” What you do with your communication between now and that final decision will determine if your school ends up being seriously considered.

How are you going to start to establish that your school is the emotional choice? Every year in the early stages of the recruitment process we see prospects gravitate to an admissions counselor and college that creates an emotional tie with them. It’s important to have a strategy that will help create that feeling in the first place. One of the examples both Dan (Tudor) and I use when we present our On-Campus Workshops is Starbucks. They have mastered the art of creating and managing a feeling of comfort when you walk into any one of their thousands of stores nationwide. The color on the walls, the music that’s playing, and the inviting, comfy furniture…it’s all done specifically to create a feeling of warmth and comfort. What’s your plan to create the right feeling for your prospects now that the initial contact message is in their hands? If you and your admissions colleagues don’t have one, you’re introducing random results into the recruiting process.

You MUST engage the parents early. Our research also finds that most parents are both polite and anxious as you begin to contact their child. On the one hand, they don’t want to interfere with the process, and on the other hand, their urge is to step in and play a part as soon as possible. A big reason behind their urge to be involved is a result of their child asking them to. While the majority of your competition will ignore the parents as long as possible, and fail to do basic things like getting their prospects’ parents names and cell phone information, I want to encourage you to do the opposite. Establish early contact with the parents of this next class of recruits and work to establish that same emotional connection with them. Call them, email them, ask them questions, and engage them. If you do, what you’ll find is they’re happy to provide you with useful information, and more importantly, they will look at you as the admissions counselor that respects their opinion and input and is treating them as a valued partner in the recruiting process of their son or daughter. Do you have a plan to communicate with your prospects’ parents at the beginning? If not, you’re missing a BIG opportunity to create some separation from other colleges.

Work to establish a mutually agreed upon timeline for making their decision. Do everything you can as early as possible to find out when your prospect (and his or her parents) sees a final decision being made. You don’t have to get an exact date. A general time of the year is fine. By simply asking a few effective questions about the prospect’s timeline not only will you find out how long you probably have to recruit that prospect, but you’ll also gain valuable insight into how they’ll be making their decision. Most counselors we observe wait to have this conversation until after a prospect applies for admission. Don’t let that be you. If you’re willing to ask a few critical questions early in the process, you’ll be able to strategically design a messaging plan that earns your prospect’s interest.

Are you establishing control of the process? Are you going to control the recruiting conversation and the decision making process, or will you relinquish that role to them? What I’m suggesting is that you should establish yourself as the counselor that will be guiding them through the recruitment process rather than telling yourself that your job is to give them your school’s information, answer questions, and then stand by and wait politely for their decision. A large part of your job is to guide your prospect’s decision from start to finish. Not trick, not force, but guide. You do that through effective questioning, establishing logical “next steps” throughout the process, and continually providing them with smart reasons why your institution is the right choice. How do you plan to establish that role as the leader of the conversation and their trusted guide?

After reading these strategies and questions, some of you may discover that you need to make some major changes in how you recruit during the early stages of the process. I’m sure some of you other readers may not need to adjust your approach at all.

If you had the feeling with this last class that you were really were ineffective when it came to carrying on a logical, consistent conversation with your prospects and their parents, now is the time to act.

Our Tudor Collegiate Strategies team offers one-on-one help with formulating a research-based approach to communicating with recruits. It will save you time and eliminate a lot of frustrations. The next step is to email me at jeremy@dantudor.com

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