By Jeremy Tiers, Senior Director of Admissions Services
3 minute read
It’s a common frustration for admissions counselors every single winter. They email or text a group of seniors who showed some level of interest in their school last fall, and instead of a response (or an application getting started), they get ghosted.
Why does this keep happening?
Our Tudor Collegiate Strategies leadership team was talking about this scenario last week, and as you might imagine, the answer is often a variety of different reasons.
But, in our conversations with thousands of prospective students and student-athletes, we have been able to identify five of the top reasons that I want you to be aware of:
- The more they learned about your school (online or during their visit), nothing really caught their attention. In some cases it’s because they figured out that your school doesn’t match with what they’re looking for. But often times, the problem is your school, the tour guide, or their admissions counselor sounded and approached them just like every other college. The student couldn’t define anything that made your student experience different or better, so why take the next step and apply.
- Your emails and text messages appeared or sounded fake. Would it surprise you to know that the majority of students tell us they’re convinced bots are sending the text messages they receive from colleges? Why take the time and respond to a bot. And those emails that you or someone you work with sent? Students tell us that the subject line often sounds like a mass marketing message, which they have little to no interest in reading.
- Your emails and text messages sounded personal, but they had no clear call to action. “Reach out to me if you have any questions” is not an effective CTA with this generation. Neither is having four, five, or six things hyperlinked. As we’ve talked about in previous articles, many of your students are going to be nervous about saying or doing the wrong thing. You need to have a singular, clear CTA that is intentional. Often times the best one will be a question for which you’d like a response. And don’t forget to clarify how you’d like them to respond – an email back, a text.
- If the prospective student is a student-athlete, there’s a better than average chance that the coach stopped recruiting them and didn’t communicate it to someone in admissions or put a note in the CRM.
- Some of the inquiries that have come into your system over the past 30-45 days are seniors who showed interest because their friend, high school counselor, or a parent encouraged them to check out your school. But soon after that, the student begins to think about starting the college search process all over with another school, and it seems like too much work or too much added stress.
So, what else can you do to get their attention and generate engagement?
- Be more personal and conversational with your messaging. Use language that sounds like how you talk in real life.
- Use a subject line in your email that stands out from the crowd. Three recent ones that worked well for our clients (all received above 50% open rates) are “Pros and cons about college”; “This is what you really want to know”; and “It’s a safe, home-like feeling here”.
- Come up with a better call to action that isn’t always apply or visit.
- Offer to help them with their college search without asking for anything in return.
- Provide specific tips to help with things you know most students at different stages are struggling with.
- And last, but certainly not least, offer them specific details about scholarships and financial aid they qualify for. Have their counselor mention that this money is still available, and they’re emailing or texting to find out whether or not the student still wants it.
If you’d like to talk more about something I said, I’d love to hear from you. Simply reply or email me here.
And if you found this article helpful, forward it to someone else on your campus who could also benefit from reading it.