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They Want to Know More About These 4 ThingsTuesday, August 29th, 2017

By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

College admission departments throw them around all the time. The “them” I’m talking about are facts.

Admissions counselors and tour guides use facts to sell their college or university, and they brag about facts in an attempt to separate their school from their competitors.

But which facts are really worth talking about, and which ones do prospective students care less about? Like it or not, some of those facts just take up space in your marketing materials and recruiting communications. I’d even argue that some facts that you present actually hurt your recruiting efforts.

While this generation of students does rely on facts about a college or university to form their overall opinion of the school, we’ve found that it’s most effective when admissions counselors and tour guides tie those facts directly to a benefit the student will receive.

Let me reiterate that again. When you state a fact as a selling point of your institution, it’s so important that you take the extra step and explain to your prospect or their parent(s) exactly how they will personally benefit from that fact. That’s real personalization. Plus our ongoing research continues to find that many prospects don’t usually “connect the dots” between the benefits that your school offers and what it means for them personally.

When you’re able to communicate facts that will personally benefit a prospective student, or even get them to visualize themselves experiencing that benefit on your campus, more often than not you gain a distinct advantage over other schools who either don’t know how to effectively do that or don’t think it’s important.

If done correctly, the end result is positive feelings which matter because students continue to rely on those feelings to help them make their final decision.

With all of that in mind, here are 4 facts that we’re seeing prospective students rate as very important in their decision-making process:

  • Your on-campus housing. Believe it or not, you don’t always need the newest and biggest dorms or apartments to make a positive gain in the mind of your prospects.  Instead, you need to make sure they understand why your current students love your campus and dorm community and how that atmosphere will positively impact their day-to-day living. When your current students showcase what happens in the dorms on social media, it can be extremely ROI positive. Don’t over think it; just encourage them to show “day in the life” stuff. That’s what prospective students continue to tell us they want to see more of.
  • The food on campus.  Every school has a dining facility. You need to prove how yours is different and why yours is better. For example, maybe you have an eco-friendly dining hall or a unique “student choice” option where every semester students vote on menu changes. Prove to prospective students that they will eat well, and you’ll move up the list.
  • How a degree at your school will trump a degree at another school.  Every admissions counselor in the country loves to talk about the academic strengths of his or her school and the value of their school’s degree.  I’m here to remind you that you’d better be ready to prove it to your prospect (and their parents) with real-life examples as to how your school is going to better prepare them to find and successfully start whatever career they’re interested in. Outcomes are quickly becoming the more important college ranking.
  • How your school will help make the transition to college life easier and less stressful. What programs and people does your school have in place to help new students in the two main areas of transition: academic and social. Can you effectively explain how it will be easy for them to “fit in” and “feel comfortable?”

If your admissions staff and tour guides commit themselves to taking the approach of placing emphasis on facts like these 4 things, and they tie those facts personally to each student, your school will gain a recruiting advantage.

There are just over two weeks left until the NACAC National Conference in Boston…Are you going? If so, make sure you stop by Booth 311 and say hi.

I’m Glad That Happened, Mr. CustomerSunday, August 27th, 2017

“I’m glad that happened, Mr. Customer.”

That was one of several borderline-cheesy lines I was taught close to 30 years ago when I was in sales training for a large national business sales organization.

The company I was starting work for regularly had us demonstrate these rather large, complex office productivity machines that handled mail processing, folding and inserting, and parcel shipping systems. It was a normal part of the sales process, as it should have been. In the course of a demonstration, when something inevitably went wrong and the thing jammed, or wouldn’t start, or wouldn’t stop, instead of panicking and apologizing all over ourselves in front of a potential buyer, we were taught to smile and calmly say, “I’m glad that happened, Mr. Johnson.”

Now just for the record, whenever it happened, which seemed to be frequently, I wasn’t ‘glad’. I was somewhere in between really ticked-off and really embarrassed. But the point of the training was to move me, and the customer, passed the distraction of a mistake, and turn it into a teaching moment about how easy it is to correct the mistake within the system we were demonstrating to them. Essentially, it was a pre-programmed way for us as sales representatives to move past the incident as quickly and as smoothly as possible.

And, the vast majority of the time, it worked. Various system errors never seemed to get in the way of making the sales at the point when “Mr. Customer” had made the effort to see the demonstration for himself or herself.

Many college coaches I have encountered over the years would do well to use the same strategy.

After all, how many times have you intentionally avoided showing a recruit something you think is a negative mark against your program while they’re on campus?

Or hidden a potentially embarrassing fact about your college from your recruit?

Or having to come back and talk to a parent about paying slightly more than the school had originally estimated they would pay for their daughter to come play for you there?

Avoiding something negative, glossing over something that isn’t complimentary, or delivering bad news: All of those recruiting scenarios are real, and all of them need a strategy that rolls of your tongue smoothly and confidently. Not cheese-ily, confidently.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

The place on campus you don’t want to show them. It could be your locker room, it could be the old creepy-looking biology building, it could be your dorms that were last updated in 1978. Whatever the situation, avoiding it and hiding it from view of the recruit will usually come back to bite you: Either your competition will rat you out and paint you as dishonest (the most common), or your players will, or they’ll find out once they show up on campus and feel like they were betrayed.

Instead, launch into your own version of “I’m glad that happened, Mr. Customer” by prefacing any visit to those places I mentioned with, “A lot of college coaches would try to avoid this and just not show it to you, but I really want to be honest about who we are, and what we’re all about here. And besides, you shouldn’t be choosing your college based on what you think about the locker room.” Then, offer up what they should be choosing it based upon, which should be something that lines up well with what you have at your college.

When there’s an embarrassing fact about your program or college. You finished last in your conference for the third straight year. Your college is ranked #74 out of 75 colleges by U.S. News & World Report in your region.  Or, there was a high profile negative news story at your school recently. Chances are, your recruits and their parents have already heard about it, and most of them have come to their own conclusion about it. Your job is to get them to re-think and re-define that negative image they’ve cemented in their minds.

The best way to do that? Rip that bandaid off as soon as possible: “The first thing I want to talk about with you is that news you probably heard about. No college is perfect, and we certainly aren’t either. But here’s how I think you should look at it…” and then give them the best possible alternative thinking.

This is where I usually get at least a little push-back from a coach who thinks we are advocating ‘lying’, or being dishonest. That’s not the case at all. Your responsibility as a coach is to give them the honest reason why, from your point of view, they should choose your program. Your responsibility as a coach for your school is to advocate for your school, and not make personal assessments as to what is good or not good for your prospect. Let them make that decision, but let them make it with the arguments from both sides.

It’s going to cost more than we originally thought. That could also be translated as “that full ride scholarship we talked about last year is now a half-ride scholarship.” This isn’t as difficult if you’re following this advice that I offered up a few years ago, but assuming you are avoiding bad-news-about-the-money conversations with your recruits, let me give you one key piece of advice:

Have that talk as early as possible with the parents of your recruits.

Parents of athletes want to understand the financial impact of sending their son or daughter to play for you as early as possible in the process. That doesn’t mean you should come to a decision that’s too soon for you, before you’re ready. But it does mean that once you know what the details are, share it with the parents. Have that conversation sooner rather than later. The misguided thinking that “oh, once they get to know us better here and fall in love with our facility and how great our degrees are, they’ll want to pay $10,000 extra to come here.” No, they won’t, Coach. What it does mean is that you will be spending an extra six to nine months recruiting the family, only to have them break the news that they can’t afford to pay what you are asking and go elsewhere. Don’t do that to yourself, Coach.

The point of this advice is to direct you into preparing for the time when your recruit sees something go wrong, rates your college lower than your competition, and generally pushes back against what you are trying to sell. In those situations, it’s imperative that you come back with a reassuring attitude and confident smile that what they are worried about shouldn’t be a worry at all.

‘Remove the paper jam’, and continue the creative selling and recruiting process.

Tudor Collegiate Strategies can help their clients design the right wording and approach to any potentially negative situation they are facing. Since 2005, we’ve used our proprietary research and market-leading insights to help our coaching staffs win better recruits. If you need help, email Dan Tudor directly at dan@dantudor.com so we can discuss options for how we can work with you and your program, Coach.

This Week in Tech – August 29, 2017Sunday, August 27th, 2017

Every week, Ken Whittaker, Director of Engineering, and Neal Cook, Director of Support at Front Rush, review recent tech news, offering analysis and banter about changes in tech.

Ken: Hey Neal, welcome back!

Neal: Hey Ken, it’s nice to be back in action! I managed to go 10 days without a phone and it was wonderful.

Ken: Wow, good for you! Well, it’s time to get plugged back in and catch up on these stories. So, this week we heard news that Google and Walmart teamed up in an attempt to take on Amazon. Whether it’s a fair matchup or not, we’ll have to see – but yes, once more Amazon has made headlines this summer as the company continues to stand their ground.

What does this mean? Well, Google has an online store called Google Express where retailers can sell stuff through Google’s marketplace. Basically, Walmart has reached an agreement to load it’s online store into Google Express so users can utilize Google services – specifically voice services through the Google Assistant or Google Home – to order things much the same way Amazon customers can order items through Alexa.

Neal: No surprise here. Both Google and Walmart are trying anything they can to catch up to Amazon, as the internet retailer continues to dominate online shopping. While Walmart does have an extensive inventory that will benefit Google Express shoppers, does it really matter?

What Google should be thinking is: What differentiates us from Amazon? Consumers know and trust Amazon. I don’t know about you, but this is the first time I’ve heard of Google Express. They need to do a better job of stealing Amazon’s shoppers. Agreeing to a partnership with Walmart is good for short-term PR, but they have a lot ahead of them if they really want to make strides in e-commerce.

Ken: I think the focus here is definitely on voice, and making the Google Assistant / Google Home more powerful. From a logistics standpoint, this makes sense. Walmart has it’s own warehouses and distribution, and Google offers an additional platform for those goods to be sold on. If a user remembers they need something, they can just talk to their phone or Google Home and order it. The other benefit is, there won’t be any required membership to do so. As long as your order meets some minimum requirements, you’ll be all set. Yes, Amazon is the leader in this space right now – but competition is good and I think we’ll start to see more intelligent Alexa capabilities while simultaneously watching this Walmart/Google partnership materialize.

Neal: Great time for some competition, especially since Amazon announced this past week that they would be slashing the costs of many of the items at Whole Foods. There’s a running joke that Whole Foods is where you go to spend your “whole check”. If you’ve followed what Jeff Bezos has done with Amazon in the past, this comes at no surprise, as they constantly slash prices on certain items, like books, to gain market share.

So what changes will consumers see besides lower costs? Well, Whole Foods will start to sell some of their private label products through Amazon, and Amazon will install some of their Amazon lockers in certain Whole Foods. Those that pay yearly for Amazon Prime will also get special benefits and lower prices versus those who do not shell out the extra $99 a year for Prime.

Ken: Again, no surprise here. It’s a smart decision – and I’m sure it will transform into much more as the acquisition takes place. I wonder if there will be any movement on that smart grocery store our colleague Julie Weiss blogged about a few months ago!

Neal: As a fan of fresh produce and lower prices, I’m buying into this. I can’t wait to look back ten years from now and see how far these companies have progressed

Thanks for letting me reclaim my spot this week, Ken! See you next time!

Ken: Of course! See you!

Important Thoughts for You From My Travels This SummerTuesday, August 22nd, 2017

By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

I’ve really busy since the beginning of June. Outside of the July 4th holiday week, I’ve been on the road at some point every single week except two.

A lot of the trips I took this summer were to lead admissions staff training workshops. As part of each of those visits, I take the time to meet 1-on-1 with each Admissions Counselor, Assistant/Associate Director, Director, VP, and occasionally even the President of the school. I love those individual meetings because it allows me to offer personalized direction and help to each person based on their needs and experience.

Today, I’m going to share with you some of the more popular topics that admissions professionals have been asking me about the past few months, as well as offer some important reminders from my travels that may help you become a more efficient recruiter and/or leader.

  • Admissions counselors, particularly younger ones, continue to voice their frustration about taking ideas to their boss and being told no. The reasons vary, but I think it’s so important that counselors or anyone who repeatedly experiences a situation like this continues to keep bringing ideas to the table. If you stop doing that out of frustration, not only are you hurting yourself and potentially your colleagues, but most of all, you may be preventing prospective students and families from receiving improved customer service or a better overall experience.
  • On a related note, more leaders (Associate Director to an Admissions Counselor or Director to an Associate Director or Counselor) need to provide context to their staff. Explaining the “why” behind a decision, a change in strategy, or when you ask someone to take on a task out of nowhere can make all the difference in the world. Most people rarely buy in completely without knowing why.
  • If you manage a territory, how you keep track of the information you obtain from hundreds or thousands of phone calls, emails, school visits, etc is vital…and I continue to find that consistency is lacking. Very few schools (although yes there are some) are without a CRM. Regardless of where your staff stores this information, it needs to be accessible by your admissions colleagues. When you’re out of the office or busy with another task and someone else there has to deal with a student or parent from your territory, will they be able to “catch up” quickly on the current conversation and truly able to help because they know what’s been discussed during previous communications? If not, everyone can appear to be unorganized.
  • Varying levels of tension between admissions and other offices across campus (marketing, financial aid, athletics) continue to decrease productivity and staff confidence. Without consistent collaboration, it becomes a lot harder to provide outstanding customer service.
  • Intensive tour guide training is slowly but surely becoming more of a priority on campuses. It’s not just about the history of your school and the buildings that make up your campus, it’s about storytelling, creating effective engagement, and getting your tour guides to understand their role in the college search process and why it’s so important.
  • Early in the recruitment process, admissions counselors should concentrate more on developing trust and an environment that promotes back and forth engagement and less about communicating facts and figures about their school. Counselors who take this approach continue to find that the process actually moves faster and not slower.
  • Not having parent information, namely their first name(s), makes it hard for schools to truly personalize those communications. Whether it’s changing out fields on your inquiry card or adding this as a call to action in an early email, schools should be more aggressively seeking out this information based on the fact that parent(s) remain the biggest influencer in their child’s college decision.
  • Setting up a phone call ahead of time via email or text and communicating the “why” behind your call will drastically improve your response rate with students.
  • If you’re an admissions counselor who wants to climb the ladder and advance in the profession, you need a detailed plan to achieve that goal. Regardless of how much, or how little, professional development and mentoring is provided to you in your office, the choice to better yourself is ultimately your responsibility. Take the initiative and attempt to connect with people both inside and outside of your school that hold positions and titles you strive for. Also look to increase your knowledge of all things enrollment management (which is a lot!). You may reach out to 100 people and only hear back from 2…which is better than 0. Listen and take advantage of their knowledge. There’s also your local NACAC affiliate. And when you have an extra 5 or 10 minutes between high school visits or fairs this fall, remember, I’ve written over 150 FREE articles in 32 different categories for this exact reason. I’m committed to helping you!

If you want to talk in greater detail about one or more of these bullet points you don’t have to bring me to campus to do so. Each week at the bottom of this newsletter I give you my cell phone number and my email address. Let me say it again – I’m here to listen and help if you’re willing to take the time to reach out and ask.

Have a great day, and I’ll see you back here next Tuesday.

Admissions Newsletter – Reader Q & A: August, 22, 2017Tuesday, August 22nd, 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 Campus Visit Coordinator asks:

“Can you give me one easy change to the campus visit that can make a big impact?”

A.  Thank you for your question! My answer is, do something different with your information session/presentation. Much like most of the marketing and recruiting communication pieces that colleges send out, these all look and sound the same. And if your school is like most and you do this piece at the beginning of the visit prior to your walking tour, you risk boring the heck out your prospects and decreasing their excitement level for the rest of the visit.

Furthermore, prospective students tell us that most of the academic, student life, and other information you give them they either already know from your website, or in some cases just doesn’t matter very much in their minds.

If you’re going to talk to prospective students about something, choose a topic that’s different and will keep their attention. For example, how is college different than high school, or what’s it like to live with a roommate?

When it comes their parent(s), why not consider doing a separate coinciding session about financial aid, safety, or value/life after college.

Change is rarely easy, but the campus visit is such important factor in a student’s final decision that I believe this warrants at least a discussion.

Let me leave you with this quote from Ben Rapp, a rising high school senior who wrote an article titled “Applying to college is a lot of work.” that I linked in today’s newsletter. “Most of the presentations seemed very similar to me. They inform you about the programs that are offered and boast about their greatness. There is a presentation on the financial aid requirements, which, from what I have seen, are identical…For me, these information sessions and tours became extremely repetitive. By my third one of the week, I almost fell asleep.”

This Week in Tech – August 22, 2017Monday, August 21st, 2017

Every week, Front Rush reviews recent tech news, offering analysis and banter about changes in tech. This week features Josh DiCristo, Software Developer and Ken Whittaker, Director of Engineering, at Front Rush.

Ken: Hi Josh, thanks for stepping in again this week.

Josh: I just can’t stay away.

Ken: Alright, so this week we learned quite a bit about some deals and whatnot surrounding Netflix and Disney – a different change of pace from Amazon who seems to have been in the news quite a bit this summer.

Josh: Yeah! So Disney announced that they would be throwing their hat into the streaming market by starting their own streaming service in 2019, once their current Netflix deal is up. This is a big deal for anyone who wants to watch their favorite classic Disney movies on Netflix, but also, Disney owns ABC, ESPN, Marvel, and Star Wars among other film studios. So this is potentially a huge split.

Ken: The whole thing is very interesting to me. By announcing it so early, it isn’t exactly a surprise to Netflix – who we know is one of the biggest players in the streaming game. But as you mentioned, ABC, ESPN, Marvel, Star Wars – to name a few – aren’t exactly just random companies. They are responsible for billions of dollars per year in creating the original content we have all come to love. Though not necessarily a surprise in the traditional sense, it’s not like Netflix can just whip up their own franchises in within 2 years to directly compete with Disney – right?

Josh: As far as film franchises go, no. They’ve produced some great original movies but haven’t had any luck really getting them off the ground. With original series’, I think the biggest issue is going to be what happens with the Netflix-exclusive Marvel shows. Shows like Daredevil and  Jessica Jones are huge hits for the streaming service – are they going to lose subscribers if they move over to a Disney service?

Already picking side in this fight is Shonda Rhimes, who’s created Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How To Get Away with Murder for ABC, just to name a few. They’re huge hits for the network and even bigger* hits on Netflix. She just signed a deal with Netflix to develop original shows after her ABC deal is up.

*Netflix does not release numbers, that is a complete guess on my part

Ken: Yeah, there’s definitely a sticky dynamic here – it’s hard to have a partnership that fundamentally competes with the bottom line of each company. While the two major companies try to hash things out, the way they each handle the user experience and transition will be key. I don’t think people necessarily care where they stream something from, as long as it’s affordable and provides a good viewing experience. Perhaps in some ideal scenario, there could be a new agreement in place where the two continue to act as partners. In this way, Netflix wouldn’t need to worry about replacing irreplaceable content and Disney wouldn’t need to reinvent the wheel in terms of launching a successful streaming platform. However, we’re talking about billions of dollars here – so I’m not sure it’s as simple as drawing a line and splitting things up.

Josh: At the very least I hope Disney’s streaming user experience is up to par with Netflix. Honestly I think Amazon Prime has better movies than Netflix does but I always find myself going to Netflix just because I like their UI more. But I wouldn’t count on any “friendly” competition between the two.

To me the biggest question is how many services are users going to sign up for? I know that just between HBO Go, Netflix, and Amazon, I really only go to HBO and Netflix because three is just a lot to keep in mind. Do you think people will really add another login to their list?

Ken: Probably not. I guess it also depends on how often you go to a platform – and for what type of content. The other part about Netflix that has always made me curious is that as a subscription based company, they release full seasons of their original shows at once. I think the hope is that with enough new content, people won’t feel the need to unsubscribe or take a break, but if people have to shell out additional money to Disney to be able to get what they used to pay for – the frequency might become more of a concern. Devices like the Apple TV make it easier to manage multiple logins because of the “Single sign-on” feature, but your point is still valid.

Josh: That’s a good point about the subscriber model when you release all of your content at once. Because I know people who will only get HBO for a month or so while Game of Thrones is on but I don’t know of anyone who does the same with Netflix. So if Disney is just starting out with this, they may not want to dump whole seasons of original programming online at once. But if all of the Marvel shows were released with one-time releases and they change that model, I think that’s going to anger people.

Ken: Yea, it will be interesting as we watch this unfold – to say the least. If you want to read more about either topic, check out these links here and here. Thanks for joining me again this week!

Josh: Anytime! Thanks for having me.

40 Ways to Craft Better Recruiting Stories for Your ProspectsMonday, August 21st, 2017

Not all will apply to you, but most of them will.

  1. Decide what your brand is all about. Define it.
  2. List three things you know your recruits don’t care about.
  3. Stop talking about those things. Immediately.
  4. Every year, read two books about marketing, sales, communication or branding. Start later today.
  5. One of those books should be this one. Its an easy read, but it will change the way you recruit.
  6. When you have an extra 17 minutes, watch the author teach you how to get your idea – and recruiting message – to spread.
  7. Tell your story in a variety of ways.
  8. That includes social media, but don’t make the mistake in thinking that’s all kids want or need. Far from it.
  9. Use Facebook if you want to tell your social media story to parents.
  10. Use Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter to tell your social media story to your recruits.
  11. If you aren’t sending old fashioned mail to recruits, your competition is sending it thanks you.
  12. In any story you tell, how you construct it matters.
  13. Listen to our special podcast episode on constructing a smarter, more cohesive, story for your recruits.
  14. Tell them very little about your school and your program when you first reach out to them.
  15. Remember: They don’t care about you (yet), and are usually hoping someone else recruits them eventually.
  16. (Assuming you believe #15, how does that change the tone and focus of your first few messages?)
  17. They’ll believe what the Freshmen on your team tell them way more than what you tell them.
  18. Consistency > Volume.
  19. What would your current team send out to their friends back in high school to get them to come play for you? That might be a worthwhile thing to ask them.
  20. Ask questions in when you tell your story. But make sure their answers aren’t the “right” ones. (Let me explain).
  21. Don’t be afraid to talk about the scholarship you want to give, or the cost of your school, early on with parents.
  22. Outline what’s in it for them if after they verbally commit to you. What would they get to do next with you?
  23. Don’t give up on kids who don’t seem to be engaged with your story. Many are still listening, just not responding yet.
  24. Don’t worry if they don’t seem to “love” you yet as you’re telling them your story.
  25. The campus visit is the most vital aspect of your story. How is it a different feel than your competition’s?
  26. Your story needs to talk about a deadline. Fair, but firm. Don’t be afraid of establishing one.
  27. At this point, are you still remembering to center everything around #1? It matters to your recruits!
  28. Stop making recruiting the last thing you do every day. It should be a priority for you. Schedule time for it.
  29. Look for objections, and happily and enthusiastically address them with your recruit.
  30. As it gets later in the recruiting process, continue to tell your story.
  31. What we said earlier about consistency holds true late in the process: They need you to tell them why to pick you.
  32. Your goal in telling a great recruiting story is to get them to campus. That’s where the decision is made.
  33. The later it gets in the process, the more they need you to ask them about their process for making a decision.
  34. Their decision is the central part of THEIR story. And they need you to play the role of asking them to commit.
  35. As the recruiting process moves forward, the story should get more and more narrow, focused on them specifically.
  36. Most parents will vote to have them stay close to home, or go to the school that costs less. UNLESS you tell them why your school is the better, smarter choice.
  37. Ask for the sale. Ask for the sale. Are you ready to hear them say yes? ASK FOR THE SALE.
  38. If they say “no”, it most likely just means “not yet”. Now ask them “why not?” That moves the story along.
  39. If they verbally commit with a “yes”, after the celebration, tell them it becomes official with you when they announce it publicly on social media. (I’ve heard the arguments against having them do that, but I’ve seen exponentially better results by following that course of action).
  40. Get an answer to this question from your prospect: “What were the three biggest reasons you said yes/no?”

Recruiting, like story telling, is a process. Respect that process, and manage it.

Watch what happens when you do.

 

Two Tips to Improve Your Coaching Office ProductivityMonday, August 21st, 2017

by Mandy Green, BusyCoach

Coach, have you ever sat down and really analyzed how effective and efficient you are being with your day?  Which one do you focus on?  Is one more important to you than the other?

In his book, The On-Purpose Person, author Kevin McCarthy describes the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.

“Efficiency is doing things right in the most economical way possible; effectiveness is doing the right things that get you closer to your goals.”

It seems to me that being efficient without regard to effectiveness is the default mode of the universe. What you do is infinitely more important than how you do it.   Now, being efficient is still important, but we all know that it is useless unless applied to the right things.

There are two ways for you to increase productivity that are inversions of each other:

1. Limit daily tasks just to the important to shorten your work time (80/20).
2. Shorten work time to limit your tasks so you only focus on the important (Parkinson’s Law)

Pareto’s 80/20 rule.  Pareto’s Law can be summarized as follows: 20 percent of your priorities will give you 80 percent of your production.

Ask yourself these two questions about your program, your team, and your staff:

  • Which 20% of sources are resulting in 80% of my desired outcomes and happiness? 
  • Which 20% of sources are causing 80% of my problems and unhappiness?

Once you have identified your top 20%, commit to scheduling those activities into your day, everyday.  Then, go the next step further by putting a time restriction on how long you will give yourself to complete each high-priority activity.   

Timothy Ferriss, in The 4-Hour Workweek introduces a concept called Parkinson’s Law.  Parkinson’s Law dictates that a task will swell in perceived importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion. 

The best solution is to use 80/20 and Parkinson’s Law together:  Identify the few critical high-payoff tasks that contribute most to effectiveness and efficiency within your program and then schedule each activity with very short and clear deadlines.

Coach, it is critical to the success of your program that you know what your high-priority activities are and are incorporating those high-payoff activities into your schedule consistently every single day.  Once identified, set an aggressive deadline for each task and block off certain sections of your day where you focus on nothing but that task to ensure completion.

If you haven’t identified your high-priority tasks and are not setting aggressive start and end times for their completion, the unimportant emails, phone calls, and people popping their head into your office becomes the important.  These unimportant things can and will eat up a good chunk of your day if you continue to let them.

Mandy Green is a Division I soccer coach, and the creator of an innovative time management system for college coaches. For more information on how she can help you and your program, click here.

If You Want Them to Visit Campus, Do These ThingsTuesday, August 15th, 2017

By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

You and I both know how important the campus visit is for this generation of students. In many cases, it’s the make or break moment when your school moves up the list or falls out of contention.

All of our ongoing research at Tudor Collegiate Strategies (and that of many others in the higher ed industry) continues to show that the campus visit is where feelings are developed and connections are made that students ultimately use to help them make their final decision.

Now, let me give you some data from our work with colleges and universities across the country that may surprise you. Over the past year, 55.1% of incoming freshmen students have told us that during the college search process they only visited between 1 and 3 schools. And that percentage creeps even higher (into the low to mid 60’s) when only considering schools located in a small town or rural area.

What it all means is this – Time is at a premium for both adults and young people today. Everybody has bigger “to-do lists” and more things that they view as important to them.

Even though a campus visit would seem to be a logical and important step in the process for prospective students, we’re finding that colleges now more than ever need to make a stronger case. Just being the local college or the big name school in a state that sends out communications encouraging students to visit doesn’t consistently produce the same yield it once did.

We continue to find that many of your prospects want and need to understand WHY you want them to become a part of your campus community and HOW your school will help them transition and “fit in” so seamlessly.

Statements about a school being the “right fit” for a student get thrown around all the time. Having the academic major that a student is interested in will get their attention, but there needs to be a more detailed discussion for many to justify why they should spend their time and money traveling to your campus instead of a competitor’s.

I want you to ask yourself and your colleagues this question – Have you given your prospects a reason to visit your campus? Again, other than you being interested in them and having a campus that you think is awesome and they’d be crazy not to want to visit, what have you really given them?

Your prospects need a reason that is solidified in their mind – either one that they came up with on their own or a picture that you and your school have painted for them over a period of time. For example, if a student is interested in the Engineering program at your school, how are the classes your school offers them and the faculty that will teach them different than your competitors? What kind of a future as an Engineering graduate holding your degree will they have? If you can help define things like this for students, things that they can’t necessarily find or see on your website, it creates more excitement and curiosity.

Let’s take things a step further. How else are you going to lay the foundation for a campus visit? Consistent messaging that tells stories, gets them to visualize, and creates anticipation is without question helpful. The same can be said for building trust and cultivating the recruiting relationship over time. In fact, from the scenarios we’ve tracked involving clients that we’re helping increase campus visits, asking for a visit too soon in the college search process is something that isn’t recommended. You have to be a little patient, let that recruiting relationship build, and then ask. Otherwise you run the risk of “visit, visit, visit” becoming unnerving and overwhelming for your prospect. And, by the way, developing a recruiting relationship doesn’t have to take months if you’re using some of the strategies that I’ve discussed in previous articles.

I want to share one more thing that our ongoing focus group research has uncovered. A big motivating factor in many prospect’s decision to visit campus was the idea that there was something important to talk about, or they were going to experience something big and unique during their visit. That means you need to really focus on the idea of selling a personalized experience where both the student and their parents will have the opportunity to sit down face to face with people that can help walk them through why your school is the “right fit,” how it can be affordable, and how coming there will help prepare them for the next phase of their life.

Quite simply, what many of your prospects need is what we all need to prompt action from time to time:  A “because.”

If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your colleagues and friends. And as always, thank you for your time and attention!

P.S. After the campus visit is over, do you know how to determine whether your school moved up the list or is about to fall out of contention? Here’s your answer.

Admissions Newsletter – Reader Q & A: August 15, 2017Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

This is an opportunity for readers of this newsletter to 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.  You can anonymously ask me your question by clicking here.

Q.  A Director of Admission asks:

“New to the director position and I’m interested in your feedback about staff meetings and how to make them effective.”

A.  Thank you for your question…it’s an important one! I’ve had this discussion multiple times this summer during 1-on-1 meetings with admissions leaders. Meetings are a mainstay of higher ed culture. The key is to make sure that you as a leader have an effective meeting strategy each and every time.

Here are a few of the recommendations that I’ve offered:

  • Go through every meeting you organize (and attend) and question its value. What’s the ROI of your meeting not only for your team members, but you as a leader? Too many offices have meetings just so they can say they’ve had meetings. If you’re going to rehash the same stuff you talked about the previous week you can do that with an email. The purpose of any meeting needs to be clear to everyone involved.
  • Create an environment that encourages open back and forth discussion. Good ideas often become great ideas when people feel comfortable enough to openly ask questions in a professional and respectful manner about an idea their colleague or even their boss brings to the table. Creating that open environment isn’t easy, but it becomes much easier when everyone remembers that they’re all on the same team and their goal is to best serve students and families.
  • Involve all the right people. If you’re going to spend time to have a serious discussion about an idea, it’s important to involve all the right people. I’ve found that many leaders leave out critical team members or colleagues from other offices that will be tasked to execute said idea if it’s moved forward on. Without the right people in the meeting, time will be wasted.
  • Keep everyone focused. That starts will an agenda. Things will inevitably come up during discussions that will need to be tabled until later on or addressed in a future meeting. Keeping everyone focused is critical to any successful meeting.
  • Leave with clear next steps. At the end of every meeting there should be clear next steps that detail individual and group responsibilities and timelines. Typically this can be put together in the form of a meeting summary.

Good luck!

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