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A Scary ConversationTuesday, October 31st, 2017

By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

Let me start by wishing you a Happy Halloween! It sounds like many of us will need an extra layer of clothing to trick or treat tonight or possibly an umbrella.

In today’s article, I want to revisit a super important topic that still doesn’t get enough attention during the college search process. When I presented on it earlier this year at our National Collegiate Recruiting Conference, I called my session “The other 4-letter F word.” That topic is fear.

We all have fears and things that scare us. The students you’re recruiting are no different. Undergrad, transfer, adult, or even online learners, they’ve all got them…namely the fear of making the wrong decision (again).

Why is it then that many college admission professionals rarely bring this topic up? I wanted to know, so I’ve been asking that question throughout 2017. The most popular answers seem to be either a) there are more important things to talk about, or b) they don’t know when/how to talk about it.

I implore you to please make this topic a part of your regular recruiting conversation with prospects (and parents). I’m making this plea not just because I think it’s important to talk about fear, but because your target audience continues to tell me via surveys and face-to-face conversations that it’s important to them. They want help with this and if you don’t give it to them it’s going to either hold them back or at the least delay them from taking the next step in the process with your school.

Here’s what I want you to do (if you haven’t done this already). Ask each student in your territory what scares him or her the most about the college search process. Do it in your next email, letter, phone call, or text message.

Let me add that your chances of getting a true answer drop if you haven’t established some rapport and trust yet with the person you’re asking.

And if you’re wondering what kinds of responses you’re likely to get when you ask that question about fear, here’s what I’m hearing/seeing lately:

  • Scared of writing the college essay.
  • Scared of making a campus visit because the college is too close to home (afraid it will be an extension of high school) OR because the college is too far from home (afraid they won’t find a support system once they get there).
  • Scared of having a conversation about cost (students and parents). Crossing colleges off the list early on because there’s no way that school can be affordable.
  • Scared of fitting in and living with a roommate.
  • Scared of what others around them will think if they apply to a college with a lesser-known name.
  • Scared to tell a college they don’t understand what to do next in the process.

Determining what your prospects are scared of and then explaining, or coming up with a plan to explain, how you and others at your college can help alleviate that will give you a major advantage over your competitors.

Remember, fear is a big driver in a person’s decision-making process. That’s a fact!

If you need help creating a conversation about this topic, I’m happy to offer advice. The question is will your fear of asking hold you back?

Have a great week!

P.S. If you’re going to the AMA Higher Ed conference in Atlanta in two weeks, I’d love to connect. I’ll be in town for about 36 hours with the plan of doing nothing but meetings and meet-ups. Email me here so we can schedule a time to talk.

Admissions Newsletter – Reader Q & A: October 31, 2017Tuesday, October 31st, 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 Assistant Director asks:

“In one of your articles this summer you mentioned that more students were saying in surveys that they would rather have phone calls over texts. Is that still true?”

A.  Thank you for your question and I’m glad you reminded me about that. If anyone reading this missed the original article I wrote back in June about the value of phone calls in student recruitment, click here and read this for context.

In our surveys we ask incoming or current freshmen, “In terms of communication, tell us how often during the college search process you wanted colleges to contact you in each of the forms below.” Those forms are by phone, mail, email, text and on social media. And the options to choose for each are once a day, once a week, 2-4 times per week, once per month, and “never,” which was newly added this spring.

Although it was a very small sample size (4 colleges – Class of 2017 grads) the “never” numbers in early June were as follows:

  • 43.27% never wanted colleges to contact them on social media
  • 33.09% never wanted colleges to contact them by text
  • 29.81% never wanted colleges to contact them by phone

Since that time, I’ve added survey research from another 8 different colleges. The sample size is now 12 schools with a total of almost 900 student responses. The latest averages look like this:

  • 44.46% never wanted colleges to contact them on social media
  • 24.66% never wanted colleges to contact them by text
  • 22.15% never wanted colleges to contact them by phone

In my opinion, the biggest takeaway from this data remains the same. When done correctly, phone calls are extremely valuable in the minds of prospective students. Having said that, you should always ask a student’s communication preference early in the recruitment process. Never assume.

The Incredible Value of THISTuesday, October 24th, 2017

By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

According to the Associated Press, attention spans have shrunk by 50% over the past decade.

Depending on which publication you read, the average attention span is now between 7 and 9 seconds long.

That means prospective students will forget a lot of what they read from colleges, and they’ll retain only a small percentage of what they hear and see during a campus visit. In short, you’re going to need to repeat something multiple times if you want to maximize the chances of it setting in and making an impact.

There is all kinds of psychology to back up this strategy. Take my 8-year old daughter for example. How is it that she knows the Arby’s slogan or can sing Taylor Swift’s latest hit “Look what you made me do” verbatim when it comes on in the car?

Advertisers have done studies about the value of using repetition. Mark Young, the Chairman of Jekyll & Hyde Advertising, a firm that creates and places national advertising, said this about repetition and advertising, “We know that we need 3.7 impressions before a viewer will really “get” the message. We also know that you can deliver up to 15 impressions with continuing good results.”

The moral of the story is pretty simple: Repetition works.

Now, let’s tie this in to your recruiting messages. The trend I see most often when starting work with a new client, or when I’m asked to review a college’s current communication plan, involves cramming as much information as possible about their school or a specific topic into an email or letter. That’s the wrong way to do it – and deep down, most admissions counselors and leaders know it…many have said as much to me.  It’s just always been done that way, and fear of how big an undertaking it will be to overhaul a communication plan often prevents any significant change for occurring.

Today I’m going to help you with that.

There are several rules we follow when we create an interesting and engaging set of recruiting messages for a client. I encourage you to use these to develop your own brand of repetition and consistent messaging with this next recruiting class:

  • Make sure you’re communicating foundational, logical facts to your prospect every 6 to 9 days.  According to our ongoing research with students, that’s how often they want some type of communication from a college. If you don’t apply this first bullet point, you risk inconsistent recruiting results. When a prospect sees ongoing, regular contact from you, not only do they engage with the messaging on a more regular basis, but they also make the judgment that your school is more interested in them and values them.  Those feelings are some of what they use when making their final college decision.
  • Address negatives or big objections about your college early and often. Don’t run from them, and don’t wait for a prospect or parent to bring something negative up (or sit back and hope they never bring it up in conversation). Consistent, early discussion about a perceived negative (ex. private colleges aren’t affordable, or being located in a small town means there’s nothing to do) gives you the chance to redefine that objection and reframe the conversation before someone else does. And, it gives you a greater chance to turn their opinion around.
  • Short, logical, fact-based, repetitive messages.  That’s what your prospect needs in order to truly understand why they should choose your school over your competitors. Instead of cramming all that information about campus life, community, or academics into one message, address each from many different angles.  Determine what the big discussion points are within a topic, and then spread those messages out over multiple weeks.
  • Repeat a student or parent’s name and the name of your college often. Advertisers have followed this psychological principle for decades. Repetition of who you are and associating that with positive connotations for the other person produces results. For example, during a campus visit use a prospect’s name multiple times during a conversation. And in your messaging when you ask them to envision themselves living in your dorms or eating in your dining facility, use both their name and your school’s name. This is something small that we’ve seen make a big difference.
  • Mix it up.  Your recruiting communications plan needs to feature a variety of content tools (mail, email, phone, in-person contact, text messaging and social media) and a regular flow. This generation reacts to a good combination of all of these facets of recruiting.  If you focus only on one or two communication methods, you’re leaving the door open for a competitor that will utilize all of their communication resources.  But most of all, our research shows that this generation of students wants a variety of communication types.
  • Social media is personal. Be careful how you repeatedly use it.  Social media is ripe with possibilities, and pitfalls.  Communicating with prospects the right way on a consistent basis via social is one of the best ways to cement a connection with your school. On the other hand, a college who feeds a steady stream of press releases and application and campus visit reminders will lose the attention of a prospect quickly.  Show the personal, behind-the-scenes personality of your campus and your current students and staff…day in the life stuff. That’s what this generation continues to tell us they’re looking for on social.

Repetition is one of the least used and most effective strategies that a college, or you, can utilize in your recruiting communications plan.

If you’d like to learn more about the communications work we do for admissions clients, click here, or simply email me here and we will start a conversation.

Is This How They Would Describe Your Communications?Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

“Confusing” and “overwhelming”.

Those were the two words a high school junior used to describe the college recruiting process, namely the NCAA rulebook, to me this past week. The young man is a football player whose dad is the brother-in-law of one of my neighbors.

As a family, they’re struggling to figure out not only the complex language in the NCAA rulebook, which depending on the division level is between 272 and 428 pages long, but also how to differentiate between all the college mail (emails and letters) he’s receiving.

Knowing what I do, my neighbor recommended they reach out to me and ask for advice.

So, what can the conversation that ensued between this family and me teach college admissions professionals? A lot, actually.

Not enough college marketing and admission professionals appreciate the need for using the right language in their recruiting communications to this generation of students. I’ve reviewed lengthy letters that use the same tight margins, font, wording and letterhead from 20 years ago. I’ve also reviewed emails from counselors and directors that bounce from subject to subject without any kind of connection. The end result is confusing and overwhelming.

When was the last time you and your colleagues did some serious reflection on how your individual letters, emails, social media posts, and even the questions you ask prospects and parents on the phone are constructed? I think that should be ongoing.

Today I’m going to provide you with some tips to help make sure that your recruiting communications are clear, effective, and successful.

  1. Put yourself in their shoes. Read what you’re about to send and ask yourself if you would find this helpful and easy to read. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to show it to one of your current freshmen and ask them for their thoughts. Understanding your audience helps you to determine how you should arrange your information and what kind of details will be important for a specific segment of your population. It also influences the tone of the text, which is something I’ll get into more about in a just a minute.
  2. Less is always better. The worst thing you can do, especially with new inquiries, is try and explain everything about your college or university in those early letters, emails, and even during that first phone call…if you want a response that is.  The tendency for many in Higher Ed when they write and speak is to use not only more words but as many big words as possible. Our research with your students clearly shows that this generation is most apt to respond out of curiosity instead of information.  When you’re trying to explain something, less really is more. Again, use short, logical, fact-based repetitive messages where you leave room for their curiosity to take over.
  3. Word choice matters. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to revise your letters and emails to ensure your prospects read them, focus more on your word choices. While many of you might immediately add more descriptive adjectives ex. “We’ve got a really beautiful new science building!” I’m going to recommend a different approach: Verbs. Verbs are action, while adjectives are descriptive. Verbs also give your prospects a positive feeling and do a much better job of answering the “why.” And, I would argue that occasionally it’s okay to start a sentence with the word “and” or “but,” especially if your goal is to increase personalization in your communications.
  4. Tone matters. When you have a face-to-face conversation with someone, you use the other person’s body language, specifically their tone and facial expressions, to assess how they feel. Letters, emails, and even text messages don’t allow for such a determination. That means you can’t tell when the other person misunderstands something. In addition to your word choices being important, both punctuation and capitalization matter. As an example, exclamation points should be used to express excitement. But, they can also easily be misinterpreted depending on their placement. Ask yourself, “Is there a chance that your message could be misunderstood without visual cues?”
  5. One topic per paragraph. Limiting paragraphs to one idea or topic is essential for clarity. When you don’t, it’s not only confusing, but it also can be downright overwhelming to your prospects (and their parents).
  6. And when it comes to your financial aid award letter. Is it straightforward? Are you clearly explaining the differences between scholarships, grants, loans (subsidized vs. unsubsidized) and other fees? If loans are included, consider providing information about loan interest rates, monthly payments and other terms and conditions. Financial aid can be a scary and confusing topic. Is your award letter making things more or less stressful for a family?
  7. Clear next steps. Above all else, narrow it down to just one thing. Make it simple like “reply back with your answer to that question,” versus a laundry list of things to do…rarely will they all get accomplished. Remember, in the early and middle stages of the recruitment process, your goal should be to get and keep a back-and-forth conversation going.

Do you have any questions about this article? I’m just an email away at jeremy@dantudor.com

And, I’m happy to review some of your current letters and emails and offer an outside perspective if you’d like.  All you have to do is ask.

Admissions Newsletter – Reader Q & A: October 17, 2017Tuesday, October 17th, 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:

“What one thing can you tell me to do that will get more students to actually answer their phones?”

A.  Thank you for your question! Let me start by reiterating an important point that I’ve made on a number of occasions when discussing this topic. The natural communication flow for this generation of students rarely begins with a phone call. Instead, start by creating a recruiting relationship through letters and emails. Both forms of communication are easier to take in and low risk in the mind of your prospect.

Having said that, if you consistently set up your phone calls ahead of time, your answer rate will skyrocket. The easiest way to do that is via email or text message. Explain the “why” behind your call, and give them notification a few days prior to the call to allow them to have questions prepared. Plus, this way you’re not calling at a time that’s inconvenient for them.

Try this out and then email me and let me know how it works. Good luck!

A Behind the Scenes Look for YouTuesday, October 10th, 2017

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

     

“What are other people saying, Jeremy?” “What are you seeing?”

I can’t remember the last week when I wasn’t asked one or both of those questions in an email, text, DM, or during a phone call with a college admissions counselor or leader.

If we’ve met before or you’ve connected with me at some point, you know that I’m always happy to share. It’s not a client only thing. There is no catch. I’ll give you all the answers that I have, namely how the right communication strategy will grow your college’s enrollment. And I’ll tell you how to improve the confidence, skill set, and strategic thinking of you or your team. All you have to do is ask.

While some of the bigger themes from all my conversations over the past few months have ended up turning into articles like this one, much of that information has been sitting on note cards on my office desk or in a Word document in my MacBook.

This past weekend I decided to do some fall cleaning in my office. As I was organizing things, I thought this week’s article would be another good opportunity to pass along many of those conversation points as well as the other recruiting reminders and strategies that I’ve been recommending and sharing.

  1. There needs to be a bigger focus on storytelling, specifically training admissions counselors and tour guides how to effectively incorporate it into their communications with prospective students and parents.
  2. How a prospect is made to “feel” when you meet them at a college fair, high school visit, or when they’re on your campus continues to play a significant role in their final decision.
  3. Recent student outcomes (by major) are becoming more and more important to this generation of students. Unfortunately, this information is lacking on many college campuses.
  4. If you want to improve your team’s customer service, help them be more instinctive and empathetic.
  5. Phone calls and high school visits will continue to offer massive ROI to those who can execute them correctly. “Voice” leads to deeper relationships.
  6. Using video in your recruiting communications creates higher engagement.
  7. Very few colleges have a social media strategy for recruitment, let alone one that creates engagement.
  8. Most colleges do not produce social media content native to each platform.
  9. Facebook ads and Instagram influencers. Educate yourself on both if you haven’t already.
  10. By the way, you have micro-influencers on your campus. Do you know who they are and how to use them as part of your social media recruiting strategy?
  11. In many conversations, context matters more than you think.
  12. You need to help a family create a conversation about cost long before your financial aid award letter is distributed.
  13. Leave your email inbox open for an entire day and respond to messages from prospects and parents immediately after they come in. Small change, big return.
  14. Ask your current students for two or three things that make your college unique and then start talking about those more with prospective students.
  15. Don’t give up on students who don’t seem to be engaged with your story early on. Keep consistently sending emails and letters. At this point, many are still listening even though they’re not responding.
  16. Asking the right questions the right way at the right time. This separates a great admissions counselor from a good admissions counselor.
  17. As the recruiting process moves forward, the story should get more and more narrow and be focused on them specifically.
  18. Get an answer to these two questions from your prospect (if you haven’t already): “What scares you the most about the college search process?” AND “Walk me through how you’re going to make your college decision.”
  19. Most parents will vote to have their son or daughter stay close to home or go to the school that costs less UNLESS you clearly tell and show them why your college is the smarter choice.
  20. Execution over ideas.

If you want to talk in greater detail about one or more of these 20 things and how they fit into your recruiting strategy, here’s your next step. Email me: jeremy@dantudor.com

P.S. Here’s a picture I snapped of the snow covered mountains on my descent into Montana.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Admissions Newsletter – Reader Q & A: October 10, 2017Tuesday, October 10th, 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:

“On Twitter and in the newsletter you’ve been talking about context being important. Why? Thanks Jeremy.”

A.  Thank you for your question! Giving someone context helps with the following:

  • It helps the other person understand why they should care about what you’re saying. Ex. Here’s why I want to talk to you about (fill in the blank).
  • It gives them a reason to listen to you.
  • It helps you develop rapport much faster.

I think those are the 3 biggest reasons you need to provide context during many of your discussions with prospective students and parents.

Context is an underutilized tool in student recruitment. When done correctly you’ll notice an immediate impact with your prospects, and the conversations you have with them.

Good luck!

Six Things You Can (and Should) Assume About Your RecruitSunday, October 8th, 2017

Most college coaches, by nature, are good-hearted. And optimistic.

And it’s that good-hearted optimism that tends to get coaches in trouble when it comes to recruiting.

In conversations with their prospects, for example. Coaches hear, “Yup, coach, you’re still in my top five and I’m still considering you”, and it fosters hope that he or she is being honest and up-front about what’s really going on behind the scenes.

The same holds true with their parents. And their club and high school coaches, too. The game they play is for their own benefit, which is fine…I get it. They have their priorities, and future plans, front and center.

The loser, in many cases? Coaches.

So based on our work with our clients, and hearing story after story of coaches’ assumptions being wrongly made about the real intentions of their prospects, I wanted to offer up some advice to make sure you’re taking the right approach with each one of your recruits:

The worst case scenario. I want you to make several worst case scenario assumptions about each one of your prospects. If you do, you’ll be protecting yourself from assuming the best, when you should be assuming the worst.

Here’s the list:

Assume each one of your prospects is stressed, and feeling more than a little overwhelmed. The key here is to understand that, according to our research, the majority of your recruits become increasingly tired of the recruiting process as it goes on. They aren’t usually excited about another phone call with you (even though they can fake it pretty well), and they aren’t all that thrilled about another admissions tour (when you see kids walking around campus on those tours, do they look excited?)

So, here’s what I want you to do: Assume that your prospect is really stressed out and overwhelmed, and as each day goes by, they get more and more apt to saying “yes” to someone who asks them to commit.

If you assume that they’re stressed, it will probably change the language you use in your messaging, and how long you delay moving them forward in the progression of the recruiting process.

Coaches who don’t want to strongly lead their prospects during the recruiting process radically increase their risk for letting that prospect become so stressed that they lose focus on what you want them to do. Do you really want them to do that? Assume that there’s a real risk of that happening.

Assume each one of your prospects are content to make the “safe choice”. What are the safe choices? A bigger program than yours. A higher division level. The coach who is better known. The conference that will be more impressive sounding to your recruits’ friends. The school that’s closer to home.

When your recruit is under stress, they often revert to whatever they deem as the “safer choice”. That’s why the recruit you really wanted, and who you told would start as a Freshman, quietly freaked-out a little to themselves and opted instead to go to the higher level program where they’ll sit the bench for at least a year or two.They were scared about something that was perceived as a risk, and retreated to the safe choice.

The question for you is simple: What are you telling them that could be interpreted as something that is a risk? What are the risks you’re asking them to take (even if it was their idea in the first place)?

Assume each one of your prospects don’t like change. You could call this a sub-set of the last assumption, but it’s slightly different. If you’re asking your recruit to make a big change in their life – your location, paying more for school than they thought they’d have to, having to choose a different major than they intended – it’s perceived as change.

Assume that your prospect doesn’t like change. What are you asking your recruit to change? How can you reduce that change?

Assume that it’s your job to create curiosity during the recruiting process. Your core job, along with consistent contact and telling a great story, is to create curiosity.

Assume that they aren’t automatically fascinated by your offer to come and play for them. They probably aren’t. How do you keep them interested? How do you make them look forward to your next communication?

That’s your job. And the coaches that assume they need to weave in curiosity to their overall recruiting message have this strange knack for getting most of the recruits they want. Wouldn’t it be fun if that were you?

Assume that at least 80% of your prospects won’t result in any kind of real possibilities. If that’s true (and that may be a conservative number), I’d want you to ask yourself how many prospects your list really needs to have on it right now.

One of the least fun jobs of a college coach is reassessing your prospect list. That’s something we’d advise you to do at least every 90 days, for each of your recruiting classes, to ensure that you have more than enough recruits.

How would it change your recruiting practices if you had to take a hard look at your assumed true list of interested prospects every three months?

Assume that each of your prospects will be putting themselves first. They aren’t usually interested in how they can make your program better, or what you will mean to you.

Assume that they’re looking at it all from their perspective, not yours.

How does that change the way you’ll talk to them next time?

When it comes to your prospects, tart assuming that things are trending away from you, not towards you. If you do, you’ll find that it changes the way you build out your recruiting plan.

Are You Helping Them Make the Connection?Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

     

Storytelling is one of the first topics I discuss when I lead a training workshop for an admissions staff or a group of tour guides.

Everyone has a story, and everything can be a story.

Stories persuade people and they can also help you achieve emotional engagement, which is a critical component in any decision-making process.

Young people in particular are more receptive to stories than they are to data or hard facts. It’s why just rattling off a bunch of numbers and the history of your college rarely makes an impact during a high school visit, college fair, or college information session. Those things don’t allow your prospects to empathize and visualize. Stories do.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had multiple conversations via email and on social media with admissions counselors about how to use storytelling to create stronger connections with prospective students.

Anytime you’re talking about your college and telling a story, the first thing I want you to ask yourself is who is my audience and why will they care about the story I’m telling?

Too often admissions counselors and tour guides take the blanket approach (same stories told the same way to everyone). Put simply, you have to figure out how to make it personal.

When you speak in general terms, it makes it a lot harder for your listeners to make the connection and say, “That’s someone like me who went through the same stuff I’m going through and they’re having fun and doing well…so you know what, that college could be the right fit for me too.”

This generation of students continues to make it clear that when a college representative can help them make that connection via concrete examples of recent graduates from their high school or community college, it’s extremely beneficial.

A senior assistant director whom I emailed with last week had a great example of how this strategy can work. As she was finishing up a high school visit with a group of juniors she could tell there were some students who were interested but didn’t want to be the only ones showing interest.  She proceeded to ask the class how many of them knew a certain former student from their school. After half the class raised their hands, she told them how she recruited that student to her college and how great a time he was having. The end result was half the class wanting to fill out inquiry cards. The driver of their action was that connection the counselor was able to help make.

And if you happen to be speaking with a student from a school that hasn’t had someone matriculate to your college before, look for a different kind of connection. You could use someone from the same town or area that went to a neighboring school. Or if they’re a first generation student then use a current student with a similar background when you tell your story.

Again, make it your goal to give your listener a story that’s relatable, authentic, and easy to understand. When you do that, it will create an emotional connection that makes it easier for them to take that next step…whatever it may be.

Admissions Newsletter – Reader Q & A: October 3, 2017Tuesday, October 3rd, 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 Director of Admissions asks:

“Can you identify ways to build morale within your admissions team?”

A. Thank you for your question! This is such an important topic. Let me start by saying that without having additional context about you and your staff, it’s hard for me to truly give you the best, personalized advice.

Having said that, here are some key points I always try to make when I have a similar type of discussion with someone in a position of leadership. And let me reiterate that I’m willing to dive deeper into this subject with you (or anyone else reading this) if you’d like. All you have to do is email, call or text me. My contact information is at the bottom of the newsletter each week.

  • Truly get to know your staff 1-on-1 and show them you care. This is by far the most important point I’m going to make. You need to understand why they got into the admissions profession; what motivates them; what their strengths and weaknesses are (not just your opinion but also their own opinion of themselves); and what their short and long-term goals are. Until you have this kind of information it’s hard to help them grow.
  • Whatever kind of leader you are, be consistent. Too many leaders say one thing and do another. There has to be consistency if you expect to build trust and truly get buy-in from your team. They don’t all have to like the way you lead, but they need to trust you and feel that you care and have their best interests in mind.
  • Communicate clearly. Define individual roles for each staff member. When you ask someone to do something extra, explain the why behind your ask.
  • Invest in training. I’m firmly convinced that one of the bigger factors behind the high turnover rate in college admission offices is lack of professional development opportunities.
  • Make sure your team understands why the job they do is so important. Explain the bigger picture, and when it’s needed, use student success stories to remind individual staff members of the role they played.
  • Goal setting with a purpose and consistent follow-up.
  • Giving your team ownership will create a more positive work environment.
  • Recognize achievements both privately and publicly (not just privately). And not just the big moments. Small achievements are what generally lead to those big moments.
  • Team building activities. Whenever you feel it’s needed, organize opportunities for everyone to relax and recharge their batteries.
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