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It Might Not Make Sense, ButTuesday, August 7th, 2018

By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

    

It happened again, this time during a staff training workshop that I led for a college in Illinois yesterday.

During a break, one of the admissions counselors came up and asked me if his peers at other schools are also dealing with students making completely illogical college decisions. The short answer I gave him was, “of course.”

Choosing a college based on whether or not they have a football team might seem completely illogical to you and the wrong way to break a tie between schools, but it happens from time to time. And some students in 2018 are also still picking colleges based on where their high school friends are or are not going…that includes a boyfriend or girlfriend as well. One student even said in a recent survey we conducted for a school that the deciding factor that led them to pick their college was, “I thought it would be easier to change my major here than at other schools.”

Over the past couple of years I’ve seen and heard more examples of irrational, emotional decisions than ever before in our ongoing work with college admission departments.

Here are five important constants I see with this generation of students that I want you to keep in mind as you start to communicate with this next class:

  • They’re deciding based on their emotions. Emotion often outweighs logic and facts, including when it comes to deciding which colleges to visit and apply to.
  • They’re thinking short term, not long term, when it comes to their college experience. What feels right at that moment is often more important versus over four years.
  • They’re looking to see which colleges truly personalize the process and really take an interest in them. Are you a resource or salesperson? Are you consistently staying in touch and asking them for their feedback and opinions on things? Do you feel like someone they can trust?
  • They’re relying on others to help them make their decisions. Namely parents, peers, and other family and friends in their inner circle/community.
  • They’ll often turn to irrelevant statistics to justify their actions. You might develop a great relationship with a student and offer them a competitive financial aid package, but in the end, they pick the school with the larger, newer residence halls or the one where their boyfriend, girlfriend, or group of friends is going.

The bottom line is this generation is a tough group to recruit. They often change their minds multiple times daily, and they do things that leave people like yourself scratching your head.

Let me share with you some additional ideas/thoughts that might help you moving forward:

  • Search out information as early as possible about how they’re going to make their college decision. Ask questions about tiebreakers and other things that matter most as they look at different schools…no matter how silly you might think they are.
  • If the early emails and letters you send are focused solely on the logical argument that your school and your academic programs are the best choice, you may be making a huge mistake. It’s not that your prospect doesn’t need that, it just may not be the right time yet.
  • Over the past two years in both this newsletter and during NACAC affiliate conferences I’ve spoken at, I’ve really tried to drive home just how much this generation of students are driven by fear. How are you, your colleagues, and your recruiting communications helping to alleviate that fear?
  • Find ways to feed their emotions and make a personal connection rather than a logical case. If you take that approach, you’ll set yourself up for having them listen to your logical case more intently once you have that emotional connection.
  • Make your case with more passion than your competition. I continue to see/hear plenty of stories where the emotional connections that the admissions staff, tour guides, etc. helped build end up being a significant reason why the student chose their school. Emotions sell because emotions are real. And remember, passion has nothing to do with your budget.
  • Always include/engage the parents. When you clue them in early on to your conversations with their son/daughter, and when you ask them for their feedback on things, you gain allies who feel like a valued partner.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your week!

As always, if you have questions about this article or any other aspect of student recruitment, leadership, or professional development, I’m ready to listen and help. Reply back, and we’ll start a conversation.

If You Want to Rekindle Their InterestTuesday, April 10th, 2018

By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

 

This time of year admission departments are either really happy with how their recruiting efforts are going, or they’re frantically looking for ideas on how to re-kindle interest from students who at some point this cycle demonstrated serious interest in their school. I’m referring to students who visited campus but never applied, as well as students who started but didn’t finish your school’s application.

There are a few reasons I think it’s smart to come up with a strategy to go after these two groups of students:

  • They’re already familiar with your school.
  • At one point it’s safe to assume that most probably felt there was a chance that your school might be that “right fit.”
  • Assuming they haven’t deposited to another school, they’re probably feeling a little anxious about their college plans for this fall.

So, how do you proceed with these students, get their attention again, and rekindle communication and interest in your school?

The easy answer is to communicate that your school will offer an extremely generous financial aid package if they complete their application by a certain date.

A lot of schools, however, aren’t in a position to do that, or they’d rather pursue a strategy that doesn’t include getting crazy with their discount rate.

Here are three basic ideas I’ve seen produce positive results that you should consider:

  1. Apologize for the lack of (or poor) communication. I know…it’s probably partly (or mostly) the student’s fault for not communicating with you. But as the person who is initiating the contact, and as the “authority figure” in this relationship, you need to be the one to apologize. It will take the pressure off of them and open the door for ongoing communication. I’ve found that this simple strategy works well for admissions counselors because it gives them a defined reason to make phone calls to these students.
  2. Call with lots of urgency. At this point, like it or not, phone calls are going to be the best way to offer personalized communication and have a serious conversation with these students. Assuming they answer the phone or choose to call you back (make sure your voicemail gives them a reason to), tell them that you’ve been waiting to hear back from them, but haven’t, so you wanted to be a little forward and push the process forward considering the time of year. Tell them that they’re a high priority right now and that your school believes they’re a great fit (be ready to offer some proof behind why you’re saying that). Make the next steps clear, and tell each student that the sooner they complete your school’s application and apply for financial aid, the better the financial aid package you’ll be able to offer them. I’ve worked with multiple admissions counselors who have found that creating a lot of urgency at this late juncture is enough to get the student (if they’re still undecided) to finally take things a little more seriously. Combine that with defined next steps and a counselor who’s willing to help, and what some might see as “pushy” ends up providing a sense of relief for the student…and a reason to finally end the process.
  3. Call with the assumption that they’ve deposited somewhere else, and offer your congratulations. If they’ve ended the process and chosen another school, you’ll come off as caring and thoughtful. Make sure you take the time to ask two or three questions about why the student choose the other school…this is extremely important and that information will be useful in future recruiting situations. If the student still hasn’t made a final decision, they’ll tell you, and the door may be re-opened. If you do get a second chance with these students, make sure your staff has a clear plan of how to take full advantage of it.

Oftentimes persistence pays off in recruiting. Try one or more of these ideas and you might be pleasantly surprised at the end result.

Good luck, and I’ll see you back here next Tuesday!

Are Your Admits Giving You These “Buying Signals?”Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

     

It’s that time of year again for college admission professionals…aka crunch time.

Everybody has their list of admitted students who have yet to deposit, and if you’re like most, you’re trying to connect with those students and figure out if your school is at or near the top of their list.

Let me start there first. If you’re burning up the phone lines trying to reach these students and you’re getting the silent treatment, click this link for your answer why, as well as some ideas on what you can do to change that.

Now, let’s talk more about your conversations with those admitted, but undecided students. What really surprises me when I talk to admissions counselors is how few of them are actively looking for signs or “buying signals” from students. Instead, they’re waiting for the student to offer up a direct statement one way or the other as to where things stand. Because of that, they often miss the signals that students create, many of which are in the form of questions and statements.

I want you to be able to pick up on those signals as early as possible which is why we’re spending time on this today.

With years of research data collected on how prospects make their final decision, Dan (Tudor) and I have identified several reliable signals that are given by a student who is either extremely interested in your school or ready to deposit/commit.

Before I share that information with you, let me reiterate the importance of being an active listener in your day-to-day conversations. Listening is such an important skill for all of us. And as it relates to this topic, the better listener you become, the easier it will be to spot these “buying signals” that I’m about to share with you. Here they are:

  1. The parents reveal what’s going on behind the scenes. During conversations with you they share details about other colleges they’ve been talking to or anything else related to the process of making a decision on whether or not your college is the “right fit” for their child. We’ve found that in a lot of cases the parents take an overly active role at the end of their child’s decision-making process with colleges they’re seriously considering. This is yet another reason why it’s so important to establish early and consistent contact with the parents of prospective students.
  2. They ask questions about cost or your school’s financial aid processes. That could be direct questions about payment processes at your school or even comments wondering how they would afford the leftover cost at a school like yours. This also includes objections or subtle arguments about cost as well. Each one of those questions and comments (by students or parents) is a serious sign that they are actively trying to figure out how they can afford your institution. If your school is no longer a serious option they won’t invest the time and energy into debating with you. Again, students who aren’t seriously considering your school will rarely, if ever, bring up cost. Students trying to picture themselves at your school will always bring up cost.
  3. They ask about upcoming Admitted Student Day events or other opportunities to come back to campus. When they do this, this is their way of telling you that your school made the final cut. It’s an especially strong sign if they go out of their way and ask to see specific things or talk to specific people during such an event.
  4. They ask the same question multiple times or in multiple ways. If they ask you to repeat something that you told them earlier, or if a subject comes up a second or third time during multiple conversations with them you should strongly consider “asking for the commitment.” This is almost always a sign that they’ve been mulling over a decision that’s in your favor.
  5. They ask detailed questions about a specific aspect of your school. These questions are somewhat rare, so when you get one, I would recommend you accelerate the process to whatever the next step happens to be. It might be a question like, “What percentage of your undergraduate students end up doing their Masters program at your school?” Or, it could be a “How do I” question like, “How do I know what my final cost will be?” Students rarely ask positive questions like these unless they’re already picturing themselves as a student on your campus.
  6. They ask if you can connect them with a current student. Typically this means they’re looking for confirmation to make them feel good about a decision.
  7. They give you other verbal “buying signals.” Parents in particular are really good at this. During an admitted student day, campus visit, or phone conversation, listen for comments like “Wow, I didn’t know that.”  Or, “Great, that’s what I thought.”  Statements like those are signs that they’re engaged mentally with what you’re saying and what they’re seeing.
  8. They ask you what the next step is. When a person is ready to make a decision they often won’t wait for you to tell them what the next step is. They’ll just come right out and ask you something like, “So what would I do next?”

Speaking of next steps, the next step once you get one or more of these “buying signals” is to act on them right away. That action plan could include either what I’ve referred to before as a “trial close,” or if you get a really strong signal, your next step should be to ask them if they’re ready to deposit/commit. If this part of the process is something you need help with, email, call, or text me and we can set up a time to chat.

Beyond that, if you’re struggling right now with a specific subset of students, or you’re looking for ideas/strategies on a specific admissions/EM topic, go ahead and connect with me. The advice is free! I’m here to help you if you’re willing to ask me.

Good luck!

P.S. If you didn’t take the 1-minute survey that I mentioned in last week’s newsletter, please do that for me right now by clicking this link. Thanks so much.

They Didn’t Deposit to Your School BecauseTuesday, May 2nd, 2017

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

     

You can put away the countdown clock and stop checking your deposit portal every fifteen minutes. ‘National College Decision Day’ has come and gone.

If you haven’t taken a deep breath and exhaled yet, please do it at some point today. Your numbers are what they are right now. Take a few minutes to reflect before diving back in.

I hope you and your colleagues hit your May 1 goal. Regardless of whether the answer is yes or no, we both know that the reality is the work with this group of students isn’t done until the first day of classes this fall.

When it comes to students that you missed out on, there are typically many reasons why. I’ll get into some of those here in a minute…and not offering the best financial aid package is rarely the sole cause. If you read my newsletter each week or you’ve had me on campus to work with your admissions team, you know that our ongoing research reveals one solid fact that every college admission and enrollment professional should be aware of when it comes to developing a recruitment strategy: Your prospects are trusting their feelings as they make their decision about your school.

That’s the feelings you create through your recruitment communications, the recruiting relationship you develop (or don’t develop) with them and their family throughout the process, and the feelings they get during that all-important campus visit. How are you and your colleagues capturing their emotions and creating emotional connections between that student and your campus community (students, professors, other staff)? Those emotional connections create a feeling of comfort, they create trust, and they offer a sense of acceptance and belonging which is what just about every single student is scared they won’t be able to find.

Not proving that your school is the emotional choice that “feels” right to them remains one of the bigger reasons why a student decides to enroll elsewhere. Here are eight other possibilities that you need to consider:

  1. You’re not asking the right kinds of questions throughout the process. I’ll say it again because this bears repeating. If you’re just sitting back convinced that prospective students will ask you questions when they have them because you’ve told them something like, “I’m here to help, call or email me if you have any questions,” you’re going to be disappointed 99 times out of 100. Your prospects are nervous or in many cases scared to have a conversation with you, especially in the early stages of their college search process, because they don’t know you. If you want that to change, then start asking more effective questions. If you need help developing a list of questions, then email me…every admissions office in the country should have a list of effective questions to ask at various stages of the recruitment process.  And that list should be updated constantly. The better the questions, the greater chance you have of connecting with your prospect and understanding their mindset.
  2. You didn’t answer “why” or “how” during the campus visit and/or admitted student day. A lot of colleges do a great job of showcasing what their school offers during the campus visit or admitted student day event. Where they fall short is they fail to tie it all together for a specific prospect. Just saying your school is a strong community that has professors who care and people that will help prepare them for life after college isn’t enough anymore. You need to explain why what you’re talking about or what you’re showing a particular student matters to them. And you need to explain how specific things are different at your school compared to your competition. When you answer “why” and “how”, it allows your prospect to visualize which is a key ingredient in creating those all-important feelings.
  3. Your admissions team and campus visit staff aren’t aligned together. There’s been a lot of discussion over the past few years about admissions offices needing to be aligned with both financial aid and marketing. Let me add one more group to that equation – your campus visit staff, specifically your tour guides. Do they understand their role in student recruitment and just how important it is? Are they being given the information they need about visiting students and families that allows them to make connections and help the admissions counselors keep the process moving forward?
  4. Your recruitment communications only inform when they need to inform AND engage. This is a conversation that I’ve been having a lot lately with VPEM’s, admission directors, and people that work in marketing and communications on college campuses. You need to have a serious discussion about every single student recruitment communication your school sends and ask what the goal of each is. Informing and storytelling is important, but it’s only part of an effective recruitment strategy. You should want to know what each person receiving that email, letter, or postcard from your school thinks about the information in it. When you’re on a phone call with a student or parent, how much real engagement are you creating? Creating engagement and accumulating information allows you to develop the best strategy to recruit them (and get the student to visit campus, apply, etc). It also gives your admissions team a better understanding of each student’s interest level in your school.
  5. Your recruitment communications slow down or have gaps at various stages of the process (ex. after a student gets admitted). Consistency is vital for a number of different reasons. Consistency gives your prospect and their parents a predictable flow of information. Prospective students take your consistency to mean that your school is more serious about them. Consistency prompts a response. And consistency builds trust and loyalty, which are two things that many students tell us factor into their final decisions when they find themselves struggling to differentiate between multiple colleges.
  6. Your admission counselors and staff don’t demonstrate more passion than your competitors. I consider passion to be one of the most underrated tools in student recruitment. If you want to know why, click here to read that article. Your prospects are using emotion to make their decision, and we’ve seen plenty of cases where the admissions counselor who shows more passion and emotion connects the best with that student. A passionate counselor takes the time to understand the wants and needs of everyone involved in the decision-making process. Doing this creates a more enjoyable experience and generates excitement and other feelings that today’s student relies on to make their final decision. And passion isn’t a budget related item that a competitor has more of (unless you let them).
  7. You didn’t engage the parents enough (or at all). They remain the biggest outside influencer according to all of our ongoing research with students. That means if you don’t communicate consistently with them you leave open the possibility of unanswered questions or objections. And by doing that you significantly decrease your school’s chances of securing their child’s commitment. You need to make the time to craft messaging specifically for parents, and you need to ask them the right kind of questions about their child’s decision-making process.
  8. You don’t understand how to “close the deal.” It’s rarely a one-time conversation. You have to build to this point. You have to keep asking the right questions.  You have to keep gauging the prospect’s interest.  You have to seek out and effectively handle objections. And you have to get those “little yeses” I’ve talked about before. No matter how good of a position you think you’re in with a student, you should never just sit back and wait.  Colleges that are increasing their enrollment understand that it’s about creating and cultivating a relationship with their prospect and those around them. If you do that consistently in such a way that creates engagement and trust, you’ll know when it’s time to ask for their commitment because it’s the next logical step in the process.

If you weren’t happy with your May 1 results, or even if you were for that matter, you need to take inventory of yourself and the processes in place in your office. Don’t wait until later this summer when you hope to do staff training because now’s not “an ideal time.” I can tell from experience that there’s never an ideal time to discuss change. Start the process now so you can begin executing the solution well in advance of the next recruiting cycle, which we both know has already started in many cases.

And if you do need help with training this summer for your admissions team or your campus visit staff, I’m happy to partner with you in that process. Here’s more information about how I can help.

13 Things Your Recruits Told Us That You Need to KnowTuesday, September 13th, 2016

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

When an admissions department brings us to campus to lead one of our popular training workshops, part of what we do is conduct extensive focus group research with their student body, specifically their freshmen. The questions we ask produce honest, valuable feedback on a number of different parts of the student recruitment process. Students have no problem singling out a specific counselor on a job well done, nor do they mince words about specific things their school’s admissions team needs to improve/change.

Throughout the workshop I reference the survey results and compare them to what students at other colleges and universities nationwide tell us.

In a nutshell, the college or university we’re working with discovers how this generation of student wants to be recruited and what matters to them most/least when it comes time to make that BIG decision.

Along with that focus group research, I regularly interact with teenagers and those in their early 20’s at college fairs, community events, restaurants, the mall, and yes, even in airports when I travel.

My goal is always the same: I want to hear what your “typical recruit” wants from you during the college search/transfer process…because then I can share this with you (if you’re a client of ours, or if you reach out to me and ask) and you can use that information to become a more efficient, more confident recruiter.

In honor of today being September 13th, I’m going to give you 13 things/themes that thousands of students have told us over the past year as it relates to the college recruitment process. I encourage you to share this information with your fellow counselors and others on your campus:

  1. The majority of prospects still only “seriously consider” two or three colleges.
  2. Most colleges and universities have gaps in their communication plans and students notice. They want more consistent communication specifically between the time they deposit/commit to when they arrive on campus. I would add that conversation should shift from why they should want to pick your school to why they’ve made such a great decision and what they should expect to see when they arrive on campus.
  3. Too many schools exaggerate or “lie” (yes students believe colleges “lie”) when they initially discuss things like cost and the overall “student experience” on their campus.
  4. “More texting, less phone calls.” When asked if they agree or disagree with this statement when it comes to college admissions counselors communicating with prospective students, here are some quotes that contain common themes:

“I think that texting can be useful for students when they are busy. Most seniors in high school are trying to figure out college apps, trying to finish schoolwork, and most likely running around to all the other things they do. Texts can be a much easier way to quickly get a message across. However, I think texting only goes so far. It’s great for scheduling phone calls and such, but having conversations about the school and whatever should be done on the phone. The conversation will flow easier and the prospective student will be able to ask questions as they come to mind.”

“I think phone calls are more important because it is much easier to ask questions however, I think if asked we would say text more often because this way we do not have to respond or feel dumb. Most of us are afraid of the phone call but it does force more communication something that is important in this process even if we do not know we need it.”

“Depends on what the student is comfortable with. Some kids HATE talking on the phone and are much more comfortable talking over text. However, sometimes it can be unclear and it is definitely not as personal. I think it depends entirely on the student.”

“Disagree. Phone calls show u are willing to take time for me as a student and not shoot me an automated txt.”

“I disagree with this statement — phone calls seem more personable, and you can understand the tone of the other person’s voice, rather than just guessing VIA text message. Plus, text messages seem so informal.”

“No, because it is hard to communicate certain things by text message. Things may get lost in translation and you have to wait periods of time before getting a response.”

  1. When given the choices of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, students consistently told us that the best social media platform for admissions counselors to use if they want to connect with this next class of prospects is Facebook.
  2. Be up on pop culture, but if you don’t know about people like DJ Khaled, don’t pretend to.
  3. Out of a list of fifteen, the top two factors that were “very important” in terms of how they influenced a student to choose that school over other colleges were the “feel” of the campus,” and “perception of the college as a whole”. The “feel” of the campus was also number one a year ago. “More affordable than some other schools”, which was number two a year ago, has dropped down the list to number five.
  4. During campus walking tours, colleges still spend way too much time talking about the history of the school and various buildings. In that same list of fifteen factors that students use to make a final decision “the history of the school” ranks second to last.
  5. Overall colleges are doing a better job of explaining the financial aid process…BUT only 51.7% of students believe colleges are doing an “awesome” job of it. Instead it’s “okay”, “poor” or “very poor”. Would your school’s President be happy with 51.7%?
  6. Colleges don’t utilize their current students nearly enough during the student recruitment process. Your prospects would love to connect more with them on an individual basis versus you communicating something they said secondhand.
  7. Personal, handwritten notes make a huge positive impression on your prospects…who value the time you commit to doing so versus posting on social media or sending an email. And if you’re wondering when a good time is for such a note, how about right after you talk to them on the phone for the first time or in the first couple of days after the campus visit.
  8. If your school doesn’t communicate with parents consistently throughout the recruitment process (especially during on-campus events), you’re making it twice as hard to get that prospect to deposit to your school. Not impossible, just much harder.
  9. It’s not about your wants and your needs as a counselor. It’s about their wants and their needs from start to finish.

How can I help you grow and win? Seriously, I want to know. Email me and tell me please.

How to Win Your Prospect’s “Bracket Challenge”Monday, March 23rd, 2015

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

How’s your bracket? If you’re one of the tens of millions of people like me who filled out an NCAA tournament bracket, hopefully it hasn’t been introduced to the shredder just yet.

While the nations top college basketball teams try to figure out how to survive and advance to Indianapolis and take home the trophy, many of your recruits are dealing with their own version of “March Madness.” They applied to several colleges and received multiple acceptance letters. Some of those prospects immediately jumped at chance to attend your school, while others for various reasons said, “thanks, but no thanks.” In many cases however, you likely have a large group of admitted students who have yet to make their final decisions. My goal today is to help your school end up on the “champions” line of those admissions brackets.

Selling against your competition is probably the most important battle you face during the recruitment cycle. Here’s a scenario I’ve been frequently discussing with counselors as of late. A recruit has narrowed down his or her list to three or four colleges, including theirs. A couple of them are similar institution types in comparable settings. One or two are completely different. And, every now and then there’s a school that has advanced deep into a prospect’s “bracket,” baffling everyone. The conversation then becomes, “Jeremy…how do I tell this student that I know those other schools aren’t the right fit for them without bad mouthing those schools?” Great question!

Here are seven things you can do to beat out other schools for your undecided admits…tactfully.

  1. Ask them who they’re leaning on to help them make a final decision.  Once they tell you, ask yourself how well you’ve connected with those other individuals. If the answer is “not very well,” you know what you need to do ASAP.
  1. Discover what they like about the competition and then start to chip away.  Before you can chip away at the opposition, you have to know what your prospect perceives their strengths to be.  Ask him or her to state the strong points for each of the other schools still under consideration. After hearing the answers, reply to each one with a phrase like, “It’s interesting that you mention that, because our school is actually stronger in that area than them.”  Then, list why.  Even if you’re going up against a more prominent institution this subtle reply works well.
  1. Get your prospect to create doubt about those other schools.  An effective way to do this is to ask your prospect, “During this process, what are some things that you’ve noticed that you don’t like as much about (insert school name)? You can word the question differently, but the point is to get the prospect to start actively thinking about your competition’s weaknesses instead of their strengths.
  1. Make sure you’ve overcome ALL your prospect’s objections.  This remains one of the most asked about topics when we customize an admissions training workshop for a school. Why?  Because it’s the most important part of recruiting a student, and it may be something that your competition isn’t doing.  Clarify any specific objections your prospect has, and make sure they get addressed. Every situation is different, so it’s hard to give a general technique that would work in any situation. If you have a specific question I encourage you to email me at jeremy@dantudor.com
  1. Make sure you’ve proven your school’s VALUE. If you haven’t engaged in a comprehensive and prospect-specific discussion about value, I’d pencil one in very soon. Students and parents expect and want this information from admissions and financial aid. Surprisingly, some studies show that a large number of schools are still failing to address this topic.
  1. Get them back on campus. When prospects try to weigh the pros and cons of different colleges they’re serious about, it often becomes hard for them to create much separation. Admitted student day events are a great way to remind them what life on campus will look and feel like. Keep in mind that families lead busy lives and as a result will likely have to pick and choose which schools they’ll revisit. It’s crucial that you give them a good reason to come back. (If you want to learn how to create awesome admitted student days, click here).
  1. Confidently explain why your school is the best choice. Believe it or not, your recruit may not know why you are the best fit. How could that possibly happen, right? Simply put, your story has been lost in the noisy, marketing-filled world that they live in. That’s why we advocate the need for a consistent, ongoing message from the start to the end of the recruitment cycle. If you’re not consistently telling them why they should choose your school, there will be a strong likelihood that they don’t figure out why your school is the best choice.

The second part to this point is in how you explain that “why.” You’ll note my use of the word confidently. If you’re going to make a great persuasive argument, you need to ooze confidence. Our research shows that when it’s time to make a final decision, students and their parents are desperately looking for someone who can confidently articulate a plan for success for that student once they step foot on campus.

Competition for the next generation of students isn’t going to get easier any time soon. Use some or all of these strategies to get an edge on your competition in the battle for prospects, and let us know if we can train you further on any of these techniques.

Will They Choose You?Friday, October 10th, 2014

It’s a hard thing to crack – the mind of a teenager. If you can figure out why 17 and 18 year-olds make the decisions they do, I encourage you to write a book because it’s a safe bet that you’d become a wealthy person.

Admissions staffs across the country are constantly trying to understand how their recruits make their final decisions. Many believe that it’s based on factors that they don’t have any control over. Actually you do…but hold that thought.

We hear the same stories from our clients all the time as to why their prospect chose another school that was a “better fit.” A few common ones are:

  • They choose with their hearts and don’t look at the big picture
  • They rely on other others to help them decide
  • They use random statistics to justify their actions

How then can you overcome this unfounded behavior? Tudor Collegiate Strategies founder, author and speaker Dan Tudor has some techniques that will improve your success rate.

  • Make your case with more passion than the other guy. If your prospects are using emotion to make their decision, go ahead and show the same kind of passion and emotion. And remember, passion isn’t a budget related item that your competitor has more of (unless you let them).
  • Challenge them: Tell them that they are going about all this the completely wrong way.  Once you have their attention, make your case that they need to reconsider how they’re deciding on a school.  Get them to take a second look.  Compel them to continue the conversation with you…but start it off by contending that they are doing it wrong right now.  Get their attention!
  • Ask them, “Is that the smart way to do it?”  Maybe the answer is yes.  Or maybe it isn’t.  Asking that question and actually getting them to think about everything in a new light is one of the most productive challenges you can issue during the admissions recruiting process.
  • Always include the parents and high school counselor.  Clue them in on what you’re talking to the prospect about, and why it’s important that your point of view should be seriously considered.
  • Exude a confidence – even if you’re not feeling like you have any! – That tells them they’d be CRAZY not to choose you.  No explanation needed.  The only thing I’ll tell you is that your prospect and their family are looking at you closely, and trying to figure out if you really believe what you’re selling.

We’re beginning our planning sessions with new clients for this next recruiting class.  Want to talk to us about working one-on-one with you and your staff to develop a rock-solid recruiting plan?  Contact Jeremy Tiers directly at jeremy@dantudor.com so we can set up a time to discuss how we do it, and why it works.

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