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December 18th, 2018

2 Things Before You Go On Break

By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

 

As you finish up your final few days in the office for 2018, I’ve got two things I want you to think about.

First, when you interact with prospective and admitted students and their parents in the coming weeks, be mindful that you’re one of a number of colleges reaching out to them through the many different channels.

For you to have a productive back-and-forth conversation, you need to understand how to influence them on a personal level. That means taking the time to really get to know who they are if you haven’t done so already – specifically their wants, needs, motivations, and fears as they pertain to the college search. The key to all of that is consistently asking the right kinds of questions that then allow the other person to take control of the conversation and express their thoughts and opinions on different things.

If you don’t take this approach, you go from being someone who they’re excited to learn more from, to just another college representative delivering a sales pitch…no matter how much they like your college on the surface.

Much like I never forget those who connect with me and thank me for helping them, your students and their parents will remember you when you consistently make this process about them. Caring, being thoughtful, being accessible, and just being plain relatable never go unnoticed, even if they don’t verbalize that to you.

Once they “know you” and it’s clear you’re consistently trying to help guide them through the college search process, they’ll listen and they’ll engage as you tell various aspects of your school’s story and explain why your college is a good fit for them. But it has to be about them.

Let me add one word of caution. While relationship building is extremely important, so is action. Relationship building without action (i.e. getting them to take the next step in the process) makes yielding a student much harder.

The second thing I want to bring to your attention is a question that needs to be answered – How is your school really different from the other colleges that your admitted students have on their lists?

Students tell us in surveys that they cut down their list of schools to two or three and then proceed to really struggle with how to differentiate between them. So, if one of your admits asked you that question, what would your response be?

Sure, a lot of colleges offer similar experiences, but there are also a lot of things that make your school, and every other college that your students are considering “unique.”

For example, instead of saying you have “professors who care,” start providing concrete, detailed examples of how they care (i.e. tell more stories). And if you have a “friendly, welcoming community,” then give some more context that allows the students to connect the dots and understand what that exactly means, why that kind of atmosphere is important, and how it will make their experience at your school more enjoyable and worthwhile.

These two little things can make a big difference, so please take a second and think how they apply to your day-to-day.

And don’t forget, next Tuesday’s newsletter will contain the most popular articles of 2018.

December 11th, 2018

You Have to Ask Them Better Questions

By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

 

Last week I talked about paying close attention to the way that you start your sentences when you talk to prospective students. The words that you choose to use will either elicit a response, or you’ll get a whole lot of nothing.

The same thing goes every time you ask questions. Depending on the words you use, you’re either going to get the “right” answer (Aka the answer the student thinks they should give you), no answer at all, or an insightful answer with context and usable information.

Standard, vanilla questions produce standard, vanilla answers. You simply don’t come away with anything useful. A perfect example of that happened last week with San Antonio Spurs basketball coach Gregg Popovich. After a loss to the LA Lakers in which LeBron James scored 42 points, a reporter asked Coach Popovich why it was so difficult for his players to guard LeBron. “Have you watched LeBron play before?” Popovich said with a straight face, pausing for an eye roll and dramatic head shake. “He’s LeBron James. That’s what makes him difficult to guard.”

I want you to always ask yourself, “What do I hope to learn by asking this question?” If you do that consistently, you’ll be able to formulate a better, more effective question.

Three other important things I want you to keep in mind:

  • In your first conversation, don’t bombard them with all kinds of yes/no questions and a push to visit campus or complete their application. Do that, and it’s likely you’ll overwhelm them. Concentrate more on putting the student’s mind at ease and eliminating any fears they might have. Your goal should be to get them comfortable enough to talk back-and-forth with you. For some students that might actually take multiple conversations, and that’s okay.
  • While many of the best questions are open ended and probing, closed questions (questions that can be answered with a yes or a no) are helpful in some situations, such as negotiations. There comes a point where it’s imperative to not allow the other person to avoid answering the question.
  • Avoid using complicated admissions and enrollment management jargon.

Now, here are a few examples of questions that have been turned into better questions:

Question: What are you looking for in a college?

Better Question: What are two things that your future college has to have?

Question: What can I help you with right now?

Better Question: What’s the most confusing part of the college search process for you right now?

Question: Are you going to finish your application soon?

Better Question: Can you help me understand why you started your application but haven’t finished it yet?

Question: What did you think of the visit?

Better Question: What did you like the most about our campus?

After you ask any question, be prepared to ask a follow-up question based on the answer you get back. Follow up questions show that you’re listening, you care, and you want to know more. Three great ones that can be used in a number of different situations are:

  • Why is that important to you?
  • What does that mean?
  • Can you help me understand that better?

If you need help turning a question into a better question, shoot me a quick email…happy to help.

P.S. It’s also worthwhile to create a list of effective questions (Google Doc or something similar) that can constantly be updated by the admissions counselors, tour guides, student callers, etc. That way everybody has something to reference when it comes to common situations.

December 10th, 2018

7 Reasons for Managing Your Time Better in 2019

by Mandy Green, Busy Coach

I really appreciate that you read my articles in the Tudor Collegiate Strategies newsletter, I do.  Having said that, just know that I mean this question with no disrespect, “How good are you at actually applying the information you read every Tuesday?”

I ask this because as I continue to train coaches on how to manage their time and get better organized so they can perform at the highest level for their career, their team, and for their family, I’m finding more and more how many coaches actually hate this topic . . . at first.

These are pretty common responses I get all the time when I tell coaches or business professionals that I can help them cut the time it takes to run their day to day operations in half and get higher quality work done in less time with less effort:

“There is no way I can manage my day any better than I already am because I have so many things to do.”

“I am being interrupted all of the time or I have all of these obligations.”

“It is hard to believe that I could actually have harmony in my life, so why even bother trying to do better with my scheduling each day?” 

This is my typical response when I hear these things-

“If you don’t have a high level of focus or discipline to work on the right things, you are wasting time and things are taking longer to finish so as a program, you are probably working a lot more hours than you need to, which is taking away your free time to spend at home with family and friends.”   

As we head into the new year soon, I wanted to give you 7 good reasons you should focus on learning to manage your time more of a priority this year:

You can accomplish more with less effort

Better time management can help you do more of what you have to do – faster. This doesn’t mean cutting corners or a decrease in quality. You just do what you have to do quicker (office paperwork) so you can do what you want to do sooner (coaching your sport or going home to spend more time with your family).

You feel calmer and more in control

When you don’t have control of your time, it’s easy to end up feeling rushed and overwhelmed with all there is to do. And when that happens, coaches tend to work harder and longer which leads to burnout and fatigue.  Once you learn how to manage your time, you no longer subject yourself to that level of stress. Besides it being better for your health, you have a clearer picture of the demands on your time.

Free time is necessary

Everyone needs time to relax and unwind. Unfortunately, though, many of us don’t get enough of it. Between office responsibilities, recruiting, family responsibilities, errands, and upkeep on the house and the yard, most of us are hard-pressed to find even 10 minutes to sit and do nothing.

Having good time management skills helps you find that time. When you’re more structured, focused, and disciplined to get the right things done, you’re going to get more done in less time. You accumulate extra time throughout your day that you can use later to relax, unwind, and prepare for a good night’s sleep.

You have more energy

Your ability to manage time has a direct effect on your energy levels.  Strange but true — the act of finishing tasks often brings a level of satisfaction and energy that makes you feel good. The importance of time management here? It will help you do more of those endorphin releasing activities.

Become more successful in your career

Time management is the key to success. It allows you to take control of your life and career rather than following the flow of others. As you accomplish more each day, make more sound decisions, and feel more in control, people notice. Your team will notice that you are more organized and have more energy to lead and run your practices.  Your administration will notice that you are happier, more organized, and will see it in your team’s results. 

You enjoy your life more

After all, that’s what it’s about, isn’t it? What’s the importance of time management in your life? The more value you put on your time, the greater your ability to learn how to do what matters so you can enjoy life more.

Managing how you use your time is a means to an end, but it brings enjoyment and satisfaction in its own right as well.

Accomplish your vision and goals

Time management is ultimately about working a vision backwards into strategic and scheduled chunks of time and tasks.  If you are not being strategic about what you want to accomplish in your life or with your program, then I feel you are just kind of doing random tasks each day and you find yourself doing busy work instead of work what is going to move your life, career, or program forward. 

Time management is not just about improving your efficiency at work. The efficient utilization of time gives you as a coach the opportunity to maximize your potential to do what it is you want to do with your time. The efficient utilization of your time improves efficiency, productivity, and personal satisfaction. Learning to manage your time, will greatly improve your coaching life quality by whatever definition you choose.  Commit to making time management a high priority for 2019.

Good luck and as always, let me know if there is anything I can do to help!

To reach Coach Green about the work she does with college athletic departments and individual coaches, email her at mandy@dantudor.com

December 10th, 2018

The Most Important Person You Will Ever Coach

by Mike Davenport, Coaching Sports Today

Your reflection gives a perspective of how you look. 

Of how other people will see you.

Looking deeper into that mirror you will see the most important person you will ever coach.

Yep, it’s you.

That’s a foreign concept to some coaches. They are quick to structure a practice. Correct an issue. Devise a strategy. For athletes. But glacially slow to construct methods of improvement for themselves.

Why it that?

  • busy
  • tired
  • overwhelmed
  • frustrated

The list is long of why it happens. “It” being coaches not taking care of themselves. Ignoring their own program-of-development.

Coach Yourself

I’ve been there, and done it.

And I can tell you that not coaching yourself will reduce your effectiveness as a coach—cut short your tenure.

And an interesting point of coaching is we often believe the athletes respond mostly to words—that’s how we get our messages across to them. Right?

Nope. Athletes are perceptive and they get coaching messages from what they see, as much, if not more so, than from what they hear.

So the coach who:

  • comes to practice tired, yawning, without enough sleep, is sending a message to his team that they see loud and clear
  • the coach who eats poorly, out of shape, overweight, sets an example

It comes down to this…Coach, you have to coach yourself.

You are the most important person. As they say on the airplane, “Adults, put your mask on first…”

December 4th, 2018

Avoid Saying This in Your Emails, Calls and Texts

By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

 

Words matter. Words compel us to do things, and they also bore us to the point where we stop paying attention or listening. This is especially true for every prospective student that you’re trying to enroll right now…traditional undergrad or non-traditional.

Considering how hard it is to get and keep the attention of anybody these days, it’s important to know which words and phrases to avoid.

Over the past few years I’ve identified three words that a lot of admissions counselors and student callers use that provide little to no benefit for them.

They use these words to start a new email. And they use them quite often at the beginning of a phone call or when they send a text message.

The problem is, when you say these three words together, you risk slowing down the recruiting process, or worse, stopping it altogether.

Those three words are, “I was just…”

Think about it for a minute. Have you ever said, “I was just calling to see if…” or, “I was just checking in” or, “I was just making sure that…”

So what is it about “I was just” that makes it so bad in a recruiting situation? When you use that phrase, students all know what you want: You want information, or you want an update. You need to find out if the student is close to completing their application, finishing the FAFSA, picking a time to visit campus, or making a decision.

And, since you don’t want to pressure that 16 to 24 year old, you slide into the conversation by saying, “I was just…”

When you use those three words together, what you’re doing in a lot of cases is giving that student (or parent) the unintended message that they don’t need to take action right now. And, depending on the topic of the discussion, you might be telling them (believe it or not) that they aren’t all that important to your school.

“I was just” can be paralyzing because:

  • It’s not the truth. You weren’t just “checking in” when you called or emailed that last student, were you? You were trying to extract some concrete information or a progress report so that you could figure out what to do next.
  • It conveys weakness. There isn’t much energy behind the phrase, and that gives off the wrong impression to the student.
  • It gives them permission to put you off. If you say something like, “I was just calling to see if you’ve finished your application?”  They might respond, “Not yet, I’ve just been so busy with school and stuff.” And since it sounds like there’s no urgency on your part, they figure they’ve got more time, and it’s no big deal.

Instead of using that phrase I want you to use language like this:

  • “The deadline for that paperwork is coming up soon <Student name> and I want to make sure that you don’t miss it because…”
  • “I want your feedback on…”
  • “I want you to come visit campus next month because…”
  • “A lot of students tell me they’re scared and overwhelmed at this point, and I want to know if you’re feeling that way?”

Each of those phrases is strong, and they’re going to prompt action.  But even more importantly, they’re going to demand a reply.

Moving forward, I encourage you to really focus on how you start out your sentences when you begin conversations with prospective students, and parents for that matter. Same thing goes if your school utilizes student callers at any stage.

This is a small thing that will produce a big ROI.

Was today’s article helpful for you? I’d love your two cents. And if it was helpful, then forward it on to a colleague that you think might benefit from it as well.

December 4th, 2018

Admissions Newsletter Survey Results

A couple of weeks ago I asked you to answer two very important questions.

Q1: What one quality do you value the most in a leader?

Q2: What one piece of advice would you give a new admissions professional or tell your past self?

The survey was 100% anonymous, and I think the feedback will be invaluable for a lot of readers as well as myself. Regardless of your current title or years of experience in college admissions, you’re going to want to read these answers. My hope is they will be what pushes someone to make a major change, or what helps them take a major step forward in their career.

Thanks again to everyone who participated!

If you have any questions about this survey you can contact me directly at: jeremy@dantudor.com

 

Q1. What ONE QUALITY do you value the most in a leader?

1 Compassion– cares about me as a person
2 Cool-headed.
3 Equipping – preparing your people and then allowing them to do what you have equipped them to do. No need to micromanage, but let them bring their unique gifts to the role you have given them and prepared them for.
4 Willingness to have you grow
5 communication
6 Being in the trenches with me.
7 Motivational
8 Non micro-manager. The ability to let me do my work, yet provide input when needed.
9 Communication and compassion. I know you only listed 1 but I feel as though these two go hand in hand. A leader who can articulate what they want but being able to compassionately article this is a skill not many have. This is a skill that will help team members run through a wall or run away. By being able to be compassionate and understand the personal traits of a team, one can clearly communicate the goals of the project/overall goal.
10 Honesty
11

 

Clear vision
12 Transparency
13 Honesty
14 I value a leader who allows their staff do complete their work and balance their home-life with work-life. There’s nothing worse than a slave driver who expects counselors to be all work, all the time. Holding a team accountable doesn’t have to come at the expense of a team’s happiness or sanity.
15 The ability to listen
16 Respect
17 Transparency
18 Honesty
19 passion – people will follow with excitement. passion for why we do what we do will affect how we do it.
 

20

The ability to admit when they are wrong (i.e. ability to be humble and vulnerable…), yet maintain their strength and dignity.
21 SUPPORT
22 Thoughtfulness-in thinking through new ideas before responding, in deciding how to present a new idea, in their care and keeping of their direct reports, and in how they treat all others.
23 Authenticity
24 The ability to get their hands dirty. If they ask me to do something, I don’t necessarily expect them to do it, but if they are willing to give a campus tour in the freezing cold and put themselves my shoes I really respect that.
25 Honesty – regardless of the situation, be honest and straightforward in address any issue you face.
26 Humility
27 inteGRITy: courageously holds to their strong principles & character (my work around for giving my top two qualities in one 🙂
28 Appreciation…knowing and being acknowledged that the effort and work you put in to be successful is appreciated and valued by your supervisor/leader.
29 Honest communication
30 Consistency
31 Kindness
32 Willingness to roll up his/her sleeves and adequately contribute to the boring but necessary work alongside his/her subordinates.
33 Courage.   The courage to trust your instincts, fight for what needs to be done in the office, and the courage to allow the employees to work smart.
34 Mentor. A great admissions leader is able to help their staff achieve their professional goals and mentor the next generation of admissions leaders.
35 Vulnerability
36 Transparency
37 Trust
38 Direction. I want to know what way our department is going. The goals and objectives. Our mission of who we are. Need a leader that has a clear direction and always refers to it.
39 Communication
40 Transparency
 

 

41

The one quality that I value the most in a leader is the quality to take charge and get things done when things need to be done. That can mean taking care of unnecessary drama in the workplace or helping to motivate the team to meet a weekly goal.
42 Honesty/integrity
43 sense of humor
44 I think the best leaders know how to collaborate in such a way that values people and their opinions while still being able to make the hard decisions when it is not the most popular.
45 Vision
46 Integrity
47 I value someone who has a servant mindset and is willing to listen, encourage and lead from behind rather than in front.
48 Availability – being available to the team for support and guidance.
49 A leader has to make his/her team feel safe and supported so they can take risks and make choices that allow for creative problem solving. If support doesn’t come from leadership, the work place is stunted from the get-go.
50 Confidence
51 Candid.
52 The quality I value most in a leader is the ability to clearly and coherently define the vision and how each individual fits into that vision.
53 I’ve found a strong leader shoulders the pressure put on our office and motivates us in ways so we do not always feel that pressure. Another strong quality if communication.

 

Q2. What ONE PIECE OF ADVICE would you give a new college admissions professional or tell your past self?

1 There is a LOT to take in as a first year counselor; don’t be afraid to ask lots and lots of questions
2 You are the expert.
3 Establish a work life balance early on
4 When you focus on doing your job you don’t have to worry about acing one task… your consistent work ethic is more appreciated.
5 Call and ask questions that allow you to KNOW the student, their goals, fears, and expectations.
6 You can do everything right and still lose a student to another school. That’s okay. Don’t take it personally.
7 Take time for mini (not many) breaks throughout the day. At the end of the day, be satisfied with your work efforts.   We all live in a 24 hour day, and we need to balance our work load, as well as create a time to cease work and live a home life.
8 Do not wait! Jump in and explore. Find a mentor and jump into your local affiliates. This will help you learn more about the community you are enrolling in. Do not be afraid to get out of your comfort zone either. This could be by either traveling for recruitment or presenting at a local conference. Do it!
9 Be patient.   Rome was not built in a day so don’t expect to know everything about admissions when you start. It takes a good year to understand this crazy line of work!
10 Don’t be afraid to work harder than your peers.
11 Don’t assume you know everything! Be open to learning.
12 Don’t forget to take care of yourself and make your wellness a priority. It’s like the oxygen masks on airplanes…put the oxygen mask on yourself before you   help someone else. You can’t adequately help someone else if you are struggling to breathe.
13 Stay on top of work and don’t let it build up. Letting your workload build to a point where it controls your life is the kiss of death. Stay up on work even if it means extra-time in the office now and then. Admissions isn’t a 9-5 job or always just 40 hour weeks. If you try to operate that way, it will build up and you’ll be working 50, 60 or 70+ hours a week to catch up. You will resent that and won’t last in the profession if it happens.
14 The importance of networking
15 ASK QUESTIONS, no matter how obvious you may think the answer “should” be
16 A student may not always be the right fit for YOUR institution. But you will always feel good as a professional if you help them find the right fit, even if it’s not your school.
 

17

 

To immediately get to know your IT person and dive into the data before forming any plan or goal.

18 be a builder – build relationships across so many channels, students, families, academics, athletics, community, high school leaders,
 

19

View your job as a “professional life-changer.” What you say DOES matter in the futures of each and every student you meet. You are not the important person in the whole process…the STUDENT is the most important person and should be the center of your focus.   Referring a student to another college can be just as important and significant as recruiting them to yours. There has to be a fit. It is all about the student and his/her needs. Not yours.
20 self-care and balance are just as important as getting your job done. You can’t do a good job, if you aren’t at 100%.
21 Strive to be the best one in your office at everything. The first one in the office, the last one to leave, the one who volunteers, the one who takes the appointment no one wants, the person with ideas, the person who gives feedback openly and the one who asks for more opportunities.
22 Every application is a human being
23 Do not be afraid to ask questions! Even if you think it might be a silly or stupid question, just ask. It is better to ask questions and do something right than to do something wrong and ask how to fix it.
24 Learn as much about the FA process as you can. Admissions and FA are so interwoven that you need to understand how aid is used at your institution to shape a class and achieve desired institutional objectives.
25 Refuse to be passive: take initiative and don’t abdicate responsibility. “How to Lead Change When You’re Not In Charge: Leveraging Influence When You Lack Authority”: I’ve used the principles in this book with both my staff & student workers and wish I had this as a new counselor.
26 Focus on relationship management, more than the individual recruitment of students and families. The more you focus on the relationship, the easier the recruitment piece will be. Don’t limit relationship management to the prospective students/families you work with. Focus on establishing meaningful relationships with your colleagues (inside and outside of your department), high school counselors, and any influencers in your purview. This will undoubtedly assist you both as you start your career, but continuing on as you progress in your career.
27 Work to live, don’t live to work
28 Be genuine and hold true to your word
29 To my past self: you know more than you give yourself credit for.
30 Don’t try to do everything because you can’t; ask more seasoned colleagues what matters most, and start there.
 

31

 

Infotain. That is what admissions is all about. Deliver your information about you school in a way that is fun and engaging with students, families, and counselors.

32 Learn as much as you can. Understand not just the admissions process but also know how that intersects with other processes (e.g., financial aid). Work to become the “one stop” person for that student you work with. While you cannot answer every question, students, and their families, always appreciate it when you can provide them with the basic information to assist them in making decisions.
33 Get very comfortable with the phrase, “I don’t know the answer to that question, but I know who does… I’ll get right back to you!”
34 It is okay to question leadership. Clarity is important and, sometimes, you can’t get there without asking questions.
35 You’ll work strange and long hours, but don’t forget to take care of yourself, both mentally and physically.
36 Learn as much as you can about technology. It is going to be the best way to figure out how to connect with students in the future.
37 Volunteer to help in the office when it is asked or needed. It is a great way to learn something new and also to shine a bit for stepping up in the office.
38 Be real and try your best to not sound rehearsed. Information is important but a REAL relationship with the student is invaluable.
39 One piece of advice that I would give a new college admission profession or tell my past self is that everything will always work out. All you need to do is to give yourself some time.
40 No matter your role, realize that you have the ability to put someone’s life on a completely different trajectory. All of your actions, no matter how seemingly insignificant–taking that extra minute to explain the financial aid process or advocating for that borderline student–directly impacts the students with which you work. Never cease to be humbled by that and let that be your motivation on the most difficult days.
41 It’s okay (and good!) to think outside the box! Share ideas, contribute to brainstorm sessions. Know that it’s okay to fail, as long as you’re always failing forward and learning from any mistakes or missteps along the way.
42 When you get ready for work in the morning, leave your toes at home. If you want to be successful then it takes working hard and most times working hard with people who are smart and also work hard. People are going to disagree with you and at times, you might look stupid. But take risks and don’t get upset on the small things. This means that toes are going to get stepped on. Similar to my answer for the first question – we need to care about people but we cannot only make decisions to please people so that it benefits ourselves. The best decisions and actions will sometime have to step on some toes for the greater good of our students and our schools.
43 Give yourself a year before making final judgment on the approaches your office takes.
44 Be open to taking on responsibilities that may not fall within your defined job duties.
45 Take time to ask questions, journal, and take timeouts to be creative with your approaches. If you get too caught up in the day to day tasks, you lose sight and creativity.
46 Stay positive and don’t sweat the small stuff.
47 Get on the road early. Being an in-house counselor or a new counselor is a great time to learn lots of information. The only way you improve what you do is by working with the raw material, messing up, changing your approach, and working with students. Being on the road is the best place to show what you really do know and what you’re still learning. Pair up with a seasoned counselor and hit some fairs. Answer the phones and emails. Ask questions. Start there and you’re on your way to being an admissions wizard in no time. Trial by fire is the only trial you need in the first two months.
48 Find balance. Admission requires a lot of you, and while it can be VERY rewarding, it can also be very draining. Find other passions and find the balance.
49 Be honest, be you, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. That’s how you grow, and that’s how you develop as a professional.
50 Don’t take rejection personally. At the end of the day, the potential student isn’t saying no to you, but to the school.
51 Slow your roll! Stay the course. Keep your eye on the prize and work hard. Put all the other garbage away and worry about the things you can control.

 

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