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What My First Half Marathon Can Teach You About RecruitingTuesday, May 30th, 2017

By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

Earlier this month I ran my first half marathon here in Indianapolis along with my dad, my good friend Phil, and about 35,000 other people from around the world.

Among the cool things that runners get to experience at the Indy Mini is taking a lap (on foot of course) around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indy 500. You can even stop and kiss the bricks, which is what I’m doing in the picture to the left.

In the midst of cramming down bananas, nutrition bars and water after the race, some very important admissions recruiting lessons popped into my head. And since my previous article from two years ago, “5 Recruiting Lessons for Admissions Courtesy of Johnny Shelton” (he was a contestant on the TV show America’s Got Talent) is now one of the all-time most read admissions articles on our website, I thought it was about time to write another article about a real life experience and what it can teach you about effective recruiting:

  • Find your spot and settle in for the race. There are always a handful of runners that jump out to the early lead in any race. The same holds true in student recruitment. Bigger name schools sometimes get earlier visits because of their brand recognition. If that’s you, great. If not, don’t panic. Too many admissions counselors and leaders (especially small college ones) are in a rush to get students to visit campus and start the application process. Taking the “blast” approach doesn’t guarantee success down the stretch. In fact, more and more students are telling us that this approach both frustrates and annoys them, namely because most of the information you’re sending them doesn’t offer anything of value in their mind…so they just tune you out. Taking the time to develop a recruiting relationship with a prospect and their family is the better strategy. If you’re genuine, and you make the process about them and not your school, you’ll be amazed how quickly you can develop rapport and in turn receive that visit or completed app.
  • A plan with consistency is going to be a serious contender. My splits in the Indy mini-marathon were as follows – 5K (9:29), 15K (9:23), Finish (9:37). Originally I was concerned with getting some faster splits in early when my energy level was at its highest. That meant I was going to be playing “frogger” right out of the gate. Everybody I talked to prior to the race told me if I wanted to achieve my goal to just be consistent from start to finish. They were right, and as I’ve told you many times before, consistency is so important when it comes to effective recruiting and hitting your number.  Make a plan that involves consistent weekly content that is interesting, focused on your prospect, and demands interaction. The longer you do those three things, the more you’ll be given serious consideration by your prospect. The worst thing I continue to see schools do is step back, slow down their communications, and leave the prospect alone to make their final decision. Guide them throughout.
  • It’s okay to adjust parts of your strategy during the race. As a runner there are always opportunities to adjust your strategy during the race because of the course landscape and other unforeseen circumstances. As a recruiter you will have those same opportunities depending on your prospect’s wants, needs, fears, communication preferences, objections, etc.
  • Not replenishing will cost you later. Staying hydrated via water and Gatorade stations is a must during any race. If you don’t your body will slow down quicker and not be at its best down the stretch. Similarly, not fixing your recruiting messages or choosing not to create messaging specifically for parents is going to come back and cost you later.
  • When everybody is aligned the experiences are more memorable. I thought one of the most impressive things about the Indy mini-marathon was how aligned the various staffers and volunteers at each stage were. Without question it made for a more memorable race experience. Is everybody on your campus – namely counselors, campus visit staff, financial aid, marketing/communications, athletics, deans and professors – in sync?

I encourage you to have a discussion about each of these five things as you develop your recruiting plan for this next class of prospects. It’s worth the time!

P.S. I experienced a first this past week that I want to share with you. After delivering the keynote speech at DACAC in Deadwood, SD I was walking between sessions and saw these guys (big horn sheep) hanging out in the parking lot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prioritize ProgressMonday, May 29th, 2017

Mandy Green, Busy.Coach

Win The Day

So as you are headed back to work after the holiday break, hopefully you have already set up your plan of attack.  Are you ready to have the best year, best month, best week, and best day ever with your program, recruiting, and career as a coach?  

If your response to that sentence was, “yeah right, I wish,” I imagine that your 2016-2017 school year was filled with people, texts, emails, and voice messages begging for your time, attention, and energy.  

As you look back over this past year, would you say that you had more wins or losses for you each day work wise?  By winning, I mean did walk into your office with a plan and then you dominated your day by actually getting your most important work done?  I would consider the day a loss if you found yourself giving your time, attention, and energy away freely to anybody who asked for it.  And then before you knew it, your days were gone and you had no sense of accomplishment or progress.   

If you are finding that more often than not, your days were on the frustrating side because you didn’t feel like you made any significant progress towards your vision and goals, it goes back at some point to how you are prioritizing things during those days.

How have you been doing in this department? Really think about it. Do you feel like you are proactive and in control of your days or do you just wake up and respond to everybody all day? Obviously as coaches, we have to be available to our team, staff, administration, and recruits, but not as much as you may think or are currently doing.  

Today I want to teach you one new way to think about your prioritization. When you do a better job of prioritizing things, I know that you will find that you will start having more wins than losses day by day.   

Stop prioritizing the easy.  You know if you are guilty of prioritizing easy if your day feels like there is a whole lot of busy work but you don’t feel as if you’re spending a significant amount of time on work that can make your program better.  I’m sure that you probably intended to do a significant amount of high priority work before you got in the office.  But you think that to get a great start to the day and to build some momentum, you will just get some of the easy things off of your to-list. And then what tends to happen is that you never ever really get around to doing work that will really move the needle for your program.  

Coach, you set up your day.  You can choose to do things first that will make a real difference in your program and could change your program for the better in a significant way.  Sure, those other things need to get done.  But choose to do them only after you have spent at least 90 minutes on high priority things.  

Stop prioritizing easy, “prioritize progress”.  Things that matter to your program. When you are planning your day, ask yourself, what 3 things must happen today that will get me some real movement forward? I want you to take on something hard every single day. If you do that you will start to find yourself getting a little bit more confident, more momentum, and more into that space where you’ll feel like you are doing things you were meant to do.
If you’ve ever struggled with productivity, keeping your to-do’s organized and prioritized, I have a great tool you can now check out for free.  Right now, I am giving you a chance to try my Busy Coach Game Plan Daily Planner for 30 days.  Just click on the link to check it out.     

Episode 26: Coach Matt Derosiers on Building a Championship Program Against the OddsTuesday, May 23rd, 2017

He coaches at a small Division III school that has to play Division I opponents. His university is a frozen tundra five months out of the year. And, he plays in a facility approaching three decades old. And he just won his second NCAA national championship in four years.

His name is Matt Derosiers, and he’s the head women’s hockey coach at Clarkson University. What he’s accomplished in building his program is pretty amazing, when you really look under the hood and realize that he has had to overcome many of the things that most coaches swear keep them from succeeding.

In this episode, you get to learn from him. He brings a creative, positive attitude to his job, and the results show. If you are looking for a winning formula for building a champion through recruiting and taking a creative approach based on building relationships, you’re going to love this edition of the College Recruit.

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Episode 25: Author John Brubaker on Earning ‘Stadium Status’Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

Coach, have you and your program achieved ‘stadium status’?

That’s the question our guest is asking in today’s College Recruiting Weekly podcast. It’s also the topic of his new book that is going to be a must-read for college coaches who are trying to build a unique brand that stands out from the rest.

Our conversation is with John Brubaker, a former college lacrosse coach who is now a successful author and consultant. His new book, “Stadium Status”, looks at individuals who have developed a unique brand worthy of filling a stadium and being viewed as the expert in their field.

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What Are You Doing About Your Prospects’ Discovery Fatigue?Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

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.

Admissions Newsletter – Reader Q & A: May 23, 2017Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

This is an opportunity for readers of this newsletter to anonymously ask me a question about any aspect of student recruitment, leadership, and professional or personal development.  Each week I’ll post my answer for everyone to read.

Q. An Admissions Counselor asks:

“I work at a small, private college and we don’t have the name recognition of the bigger schools around us. What advice can you give me about how we can differentiate ourselves?”

A. Thank you for your question!  The first thing I would recommend you do is start developing your recruiting relationship as early as possible, especially when you’re working with underclassmen.

Smaller, lesser-known colleges should always make a point of targeting prospects as early as possible, namely because you’ll get the chance to define your school before some of your larger competitors begin their recruitment process.

Here are three other strategies that we’ve seen work for our small college clients:

  1. Consistency is a must. I cannot underscore enough the importance of a consistent message throughout the entire recruitment process when you’re competing with bigger name competitors. Sending regular emails and letters that are personalized prove that you are serious about them in the most tangible way possible. Over time that will make a difference in how they view your school.
  2. Display confidence. One of the things that most prospects are looking for from a smaller, lesser-known college is confidence.  For example, can you clearly explain (and then continue to reiterate) why they should consider paying more to be a student at your school if the price difference is significant? If you aren’t confident about a topic such as cost, prospects and their parents have told us your school immediately moves down the list or in some cases off completely. However, if you confidently and somewhat aggressively lay out the reasons they should pay attention to you and your school, and then develop a plan of action for them to follow as the recruiting process begins to ramp up, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results.
  3. Explain why being the smaller name is the smarter choice. One of the critical elements that you will need to address as an admissions counselor is explaining why you, as the smaller, lesser-known college, is going to be the smarter choice for them.  That line of reasoning could be based on any number of things and involves asking the right kinds of effective questions. For example, you might ask their thoughts about being in classes taught by TAs, waiting in longer lines to eat, and having to walk longer distances between classes. The point is it needs to be something.  Your prospect needs a logical reason about why they should keep you under consideration.  Fail to give that to them and it’s going to be much harder to get their attention later in the process.

Good luck!

-Jeremy

Preserve the Open InternetSunday, May 21st, 2017

Neal Cook, Front Rush

With the constant bombardment of news, you may have missed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) vote last Thursday to reverse the net neutrality rules that were put in place during the Obama administration.

When I say “net neutrality,” you probably yawned. It’s not a sexy term. But the implications of net neutrality are severe.  Net Neutrality is the principle that your Internet Service Providers, also called ISP’s (like Verizon and Comcast), should provide access to all content and websites on the web, they should also never throttle or slow down sites that don’t pay more money for ‘faster service.’

Think of the internet, as we’ve known all of our lives, as an open road. All companies can freely travel down the same road, at the same speed, and no one is stopped and told to go back. Every website has the same chance to reach their end destination (your eyes).

Now instead of an open road, think of a smaller, suburban street and the highway above it. If your ISP’s had their way, they would be able to charge companies more money to have their website appear on the highway. If you were a smaller company or didn’t have the budget to pay for the highway, your website would be delegated to the slower, suburban street. Meaning, your website would be slow, and the visitors of your site would have slower service.

Maybe you’re a competitor of the ISP’s themselves. If the ISP’s don’t like you, they don’t have to offer you a chance to ride the local road or the highway. They’ll turn you around and say ‘no.’ So your company or website would be wiped off the internet.

The internet is the pathway to knowledge and change. No company should be able to limit the sites that you wish to access, or slow the speeds. Small businesses should not suffer because they do have the funds to pay for faster access.

By voting to rollback the net neutrality rules, the FCC, which is newly run by Ajit Pai (who is ironically a former Verizon lawyer), they are ceding to the lobbyists of these major corporations and pointing two middle fingers to the American people.

If you are passionate about the websites and the tools that you use online and do not wish to see these slowed down or blocked in the future, you can file a complaint on the FCC’s website here. You can also read up more at this site. Staying vigilant is one way we can preserve our freedoms.

Strategies for When Prospects Say, “I’m Still Not Sure”Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

That 4-word phrase, or a version of it, seems to be a popular response right now among undecided students. It’s definitely one of, it not the biggest, topics I’ve been asked for advice on over the past few weeks.

A rise in post May 1 decisions means instead of focusing efforts on “summer melt,” more and more schools are still building their next class.

Hearing “I’m still not sure” or “I still need to think about it” seems reasonable enough though, doesn’t it? This is the biggest decision to date for that student. Some might even argue it could be a life altering decision.

I would argue that in many cases it’s not reasonable, and here’s why:

  • In research that Tudor Collegiate Strategies completed to help our clients craft a more coherent recruiting strategy down the stretch, we found that about 8 out of 10 prospects spend “little” to “no time” actually thinking about your school after they tell you that’s what they need to go and do.
  • We know from experience, and getting feedback from live student focus groups during our On-Campus Training Workshops at colleges around the country that most students have defined a college within 10-15 minutes of completing a campus visit there.

So, unless you’re willing to increase your discount rate, my recommendation is you eliminate the option of “I’m still not sure” or “I still need to think about it” from your prospect’s vocabulary. Here are 3 proven strategies that Dan (Tudor) and I recommend:

  1. Since we know that a lot of prospects are spending little to no time actually “thinking about it” right now, go ahead and call them on it. There are a number of ways you can do this. One of the most effective ways to respond when you hear that phrase is by asking, “Tell me what you’ll be thinking about” or “Tell me what you’re still not sure about.” One of two scenarios will play out – Either they will be unable to define anything for you (aka “stall”), or they’ll list out objections and insider conversations that are going on at home as they try to reach a decision. Regardless of which one happens you’ll have a much better feel for your next move.
  2. Get ahead of it after the campus visit. Since we know that a lot of students have largely defined you after their campus visit, reach out for their opinion within two to three days after. In that phone call, email, or text message (which one you use should depend on the student’s preference) tell them how much you enjoyed having them on campus and then ask them what one or two big obstacles they (and their parents) think might prevent them from picking your school. Counselors that take this approach are surprised how much it eliminates “I’m still not sure” or “I want to think about it.” That’s because you’re getting them to define it for you earlier in the process, and you can subsequently shift or alter your strategy.
  3. Make finding out what the parents think a priority. I’ve been hammering home this point in article after article the past 12 months. It still takes way too long for most admissions counselors to begin communicating with parents. When you do connect with the parent(s), you need to find out what they think could prevent their son or daughter from choosing your school. Focus on what they don’t like or have big questions or fears about. In some cases our clients are finding that when they engage the parent(s) early, they come away with more usable information than when they talk to the student. If you make this part of your recruiting communication strategy, you’ll find that you will insulate yourself against future “stalling” by the student.

One final point – I’ve used the word “stall” a couple of times because that’s exactly what your prospect is doing when they use a phrase like, “I’m still not sure.” They’re stalling for time.

They don’t like making a final decision, and, in some cases, they’re worried about how you’ll respond if they tell you your school is no longer under consideration.

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.

Have a great week!

Admissions Newsletter – Reader Q & A: May 16, 2017Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

This is an opportunity for readers of this newsletter to anonymously ask me a question about any aspect of student recruitment, leadership, and professional or personal development.  Each week I’ll post my answer for everyone to read.

Q.  A Director of Admission asks:

“Can you give us ideas on how to start the conversation with parents? What kinds of questions work best? I manage a territory as well and it’s something our team all needs to improve on.”

A.  Thank you for your question!  This generation of students continues to tell us that they not only want their parents to be involved in the recruitment process, but they expect it.

I would start by telling you that if you don’t currently have a separate communication plan specifically for parents, you need to develop one. One letter or email per month will suffice, but you need to be consistent. And a phone call at least every other month is a good idea as well.   The talking points are up to you, but I would recommend you connect them with messaging that you’re sending their son or daughter during that same time period. That way everyone is on the same page. Safety, cost, and R.O.I. are just some of the topics that parents want information about.

Here are some specific questions that have worked well for our clients:

  • “What’s your biggest fear as you help <child’s name> choose a college?”
  • “What is it about our school that you believe makes it a potential good fit for <child’s name>?”
  • “What do you see as the next step in this process?”
  • “Has your family talked about a timeline for a final decision?”

If you work to cultivate a recruiting relationship with the parents early on, what you’ll find is that many of them will be more than happy to provide you with useful information. But even more importantly they will come to view you as someone who respects their opinion and is treating them as a valued partner in this process.

-Jeremy

Were you hacked last week?Monday, May 15th, 2017

Neal Cook, Front Rush

It’s a dreary feeling; knowing you’ve fallen for an online SPAM attack.

Were you one of the million or so Gmail users who were hacked last week? If you were, don’t be embarrassed. This was a sophisticated attack that fooled a lot of people.

The hack started with an email, sent from a known contact, that invited you to click a link to view a Google Doc they shared with you. Google does send an email when someone shares a Google Doc, so it would appear legitimate.

After you had clicked on the link inside, you were sent to a Google Apps page. It asked you to authorize an app called “Google Docs” to read, send and delete emails (which is common with some legitimate Google Docs). The problem here was that this Google Docs was not a real app, the hacker controlled it.

When this all began at the Front Rush office, I’m not going to lie; I was really concerned. We received about 100 emails from real coaches, and not knowing the severity of the attack, we jumped into an ad hoc meeting to try to find the root of the issue and to see if we were the only ones getting hacked (never a fun feeling).

After some digging and googling, we discovered this was a worldwide issue that was affecting individuals and companies. Needless to say, we breathed a sigh of relief.

If you were one of the million-plus users who did click on the Google Docs email during the one-hour before Google shut it down, make sure you go through the Google Security Check here and make sure the apps under “check your account permissions” are indeed the apps you want to share your information with.

So how do you make sure you don’t fall for the next hack?

It’s easy. Don’t trust anything. Don’t click on anything that you are not supposed to click on. For this latest SPAM attack, the email was sent from a trusted contact and it looked legit. But, ask yourself “Am I expecting a document from this person?”.

If you’re not, contact them and ask them if what they sent was real. By reaching out, you’ll allow them to quickly check if they’ve been hacked or not and take preventive measures.

You should also make sure you have an antivirus downloaded and running on your computer.


The last time I visited my aunt in Miami I had to use her computer to look up directions to the zoo. When I clicked on her web browser, I noticed the buttons looked a little different, and there were banner ads in the toolbar that should never be there. Popup ads were appearing left and right.

I yelled to my Aunt Cathy, “DROP THE MEATBALLS AND GET OVER HERE…PLEASE TELL ME YOU DON’T CLICK ON RANDOM THINGS ON YOUR COMPUTER”. She dropped the meatballs, and she did indeed just click things (remember, don’t trust the internet).

Older adults are more susceptible to hacks. It’s nothing against them, they are just more trustworthy of the internet and the scams, and don’t have as much familiarity with what is real and what is fake.

Young or old. Mac or PC. It doesn’t matter. Make sure you have an antivirus running on your computer at all times. I’m a huge fan of Avast. It’s free, and it works wonders (just ask my Aunt). You can download it for free right here.

You can also check with your IT department and ask them to double check your computer to ensure you have an active antivirus running on your computer.

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