Dan Tudor

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Admissions Newsletter – Reader Q & A: December 5, 2017Tuesday, December 5th, 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 Associate Director asks:

“This year I started managing some of the admission counselors. We have weekly staff meetings but most of the counselors don’t say much. This sounds silly but how I can get them to talk to me more? Thank you.”

A.  Thank you for your question! What you just described is a common leadership problem. Without having additional context it’s hard for me to give you a really specific answer. Email me if you want to go even deeper on this.

The biggest piece of advice I would give you is to have fewer meetings as a group, and more 1-on-1 meetings. I’ve found that fear, or a lack of confidence, knowledge, or trust oftentimes prevents people from speaking up in group settings.

I even battle this from time to time when I lead a staff training workshop. It’s why I spend a half or a whole day meeting 1-on-1 with each admissions staff member after the group training. Everybody has questions or something to say, I promise you that.

The key to making those 1-on-1 meetings productive is to develop rapport and trust first. If they don’t know or don’t believe that you truly care, it’s going to be hard to generate any sort of real conversation. If you haven’t done it yet, ask yourself how much you really know about each counselor you manage…their wants, needs, fears, and motivations. And if the answer is “not enough” with any or all of those counselors, that’s where you need to start.

During those 1-on-1 conversations make sure you’re asking questions that will allow you to sit back, listen, and better understand their mindset.

Admissions Newsletter – Reader Q & A: November 21, 2017Tuesday, November 21st, 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’s the biggest reminder you can give me right now?”

A.  Thank you for your question! During my travels this fall a lot of admissions counselors admitted that they haven’t spoken with the parents of a majority of this next class of students.

Please, please, please don’t wait any longer to engage with parents. If you haven’t had at least one phone conversation or email exchange with the parents of students who are farther along in the process, namely your admitted students, make that a priority. Waiting until your school releases financial aid award letters will make your life more difficult.

Work to establish rapport and an emotional connection with the entire family…not just the students. Ask parents questions that allow them to reveal their wants, fears, concerns and the timeline for their family. If you do, what you’ll find is they will look at you as the admissions counselor that respects their opinion and input and is treating them as a valued partner in the recruiting process of their son or daughter.

Good luck.

Admissions Newsletter – Reader Q & A: November 14, 2017Tuesday, November 14th, 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:

“Jeremy can you tell me one thing I can do right now to improve my customer service. Thanks for all the content you share.”

A.  Great question…thank you for asking it! I’m going to give two things instead of one, because I think both of these are massively important.

Explain the why. A lot of admissions counselors ask their prospects to take action on something without offering an explanation or a “because.” Why should they visit your campus? Why should they apply right now? Why is it in their best interest to fill out the FAFSA right now instead of waiting until January or February? Take the time to clearly explain why you’re asking them to do whatever it is you’re asking them to do, and how it will benefit them or make their life easier.

Listen to them. It’s amazing how often I still hear this complaint from prospects and parents. Remember, your goal should be to get and keep back-and-forth conversations going throughout the recruitment process. You don’t need to “sell” your school at every turn. When you listen, it lets your prospects and their parents know that someone is trying to make their experience better.

Try these two things out and let me know how it goes for you.

Admissions Newsletter – Reader Q & A: November 7, 2017Tuesday, November 7th, 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 Associate Director asks:

“Do you think there’s a negative to doing more large group visit events? We’ve been doing more and our fall visit numbers are some of our highest ever.”

A.  Thank you for your question! I think anytime you can get a prospective student on your campus, that’s a win. And I know that it’s tough to avoid one or more large group visits, especially on weekends in the fall.

My biggest concern is, the larger the visit, the less effective the emotional connection…which is unbelievably important!

I’ve been on, and read comments about in our surveys, bigger visit events where it’s difficult to hear the person leading the tour. Larger visits also don’t usually allow for in-depth, personal conversations to occur. Parents have actually told me they didn’t ask questions on purpose because they didn’t want to slow down the tour. In the end, people end up leaving campus with more questions than answers, which can be extremely frustrating.

If you’re going to conduct a larger event, make sure you staff it accordingly (too much staff is better than not enough), and make sure you’re intentionally creating multiple opportunities for those 1-on-1 connections to occur.

Good luck!

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.

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!

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!

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.

Admissions Newsletter – Reader Q & A: September 19, 2017Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

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

 Q.  An Admissions Counselor asks:

“I’m new and struggling with a lot of things right now but what’s the biggest thing you think new admissions counselors struggle with?”

A.  Thank you for your question! I could go a bunch of different directions here, but I’m going to choose self-awareness.

I think it’s hard for a person to improve any skill if they’re not self-aware. I’ve seen friends, leaders, and others in numerous professions fall short because they don’t know, that they don’t know.

When was the last time you asked yourself who you are and what you’re good (and not good) at? Do you truly understand your skill set and your DNA? What would those around you say if I asked them those same questions? And just to be clear, I’m not talking about just your skills as an admissions counselor, but also as a human being.

When you’re self-aware and you know what you’re good at you can use those skills to advance. And when you come to grips with what you’re not as good at, and are willing to ask for help with, that also allows you move forward much faster.

Self-awareness isn’t easy, but I believe it’s a game changer once you figure it out.

Admissions Newsletter – Reader Q & A: September 5, 2017Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

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

Q.  An Admissions Counselor asks:

“I’m planning out my fall travel right now and wanted to know if you have any tips on how to stand out?”

A.  Thank you for your question! Here are 3 easy, and effective, strategies to consider:

  1. Sit alongside prospective students, not across the table from them.  When you’re visiting a high school or a community college, trying sitting next to the student (or next to one of the students) instead of across from them or at the other end of the table. Creating an atmosphere of trust starts with your body position.
  2. Do something different with your information session. More and more students are saying these all look and sound the same. Instead of reciting your usual script, start your session off with a conversation about something that you know just about every single student wonders about. For example, what does it mean to live with a roommate or how does your school help make the transition easier (academically and socially) for new students.
  3. Make the conversation all about them and nothing about your school. Instead of throwing out every single fact and figure about your campus and its programs, try this. Spend those first couple of conversations when you meet a student talking about things like fear, and how they plan to actually navigate the college search process. When you take this approach not only are you personalizing the process more for them, but you’re also creating an environment that promotes trust and allows them to become comfortable enough to have future conversations with you. And what will inevitably happen as a natural bi-product of doing this is the student will ask questions about your college…but you’ve allowed them to take the lead and talk about things that matter to them, versus you giving them a massive amount of information that they either don’t care about or aren’t ready for just yet.

Good luck!

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