by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
If I asked you what the “this” is, what would your answer be?
What do you think an admissions counselor should do right after a student from the territory they manage visits campus?
Developing a post-visit strategy is imperative. And by post-visit strategy I’m not talking about sending a handwritten “thank you for visiting” note. That’s a nice touch, but there’s more to it than that if you want to help your prospect and his or her family keep the process moving forward.
Too many admissions counselors slip into the mindset that once a student visits campus, all of their questions have been answered.
Our ongoing focus group research shows the exact opposite usually occurs. Not only do most prospects leave campus with more questions, they also tell us they have a completely different mindset after their campus visit than they do both before and during.
That’s why it’s important for admissions counselors to ask effective, targeted questions. Doing so will provide counselors with some of the best information possible during a critical point in the student recruitment process.
In most cases, your prospect is ready to reveal all kinds of new information about their timeline as well as new feelings (both likes and dislikes) they may have following their visit to your campus…but only if you ask them the right kinds of questions.
Now, you might be wondering when I say right after do I mean immediately after the walking tour before they leave campus, or am I referring to those first few days following their visit? It depends. Recruiting is completely situational. And because that’s the case, you’re going to have to rely on your instincts in terms of when to ask certain questions.
If you’ve been talking back and forth with a prospect that is a senior or a transfer for months now and you’ve established trust and rapport, I would argue it’s okay to be a little more aggressive with your questions before they depart campus.
On the other hand, if it’s a new inquiry or prospect that you just started communicating with recently, you might want to consider giving them a few days to process everything before following up and asking some of the questions I’m about to recommend. Do, however, go ahead and set up a follow-up phone call with them before they leave campus.
Below are some questions that I’ve recommended to our clients that have produced valuable, actionable information (both positive and negative).
Questions you might ask your prospect:
- Can you walk me through what happens next for you?
- What are one or two things that you wish you could change about our campus now that you’ve seen it?
- What did your parents say about the visit during your trip home?
- Do you feel like there’s something you’re going to try and pay attention to better on your visit to another school?
- Did your visit to our school change anything about your timeline?
- Are you planning to visit any other colleges right now?
- What do you think the best part about living on our campus would be?
- Are you interested in coming back to campus later this year for another event?
- If you came back for another visit here, what would you want to see or experience again?
- What are your parents telling you to do at this point in the process?
- What do you want to see us talk about next?
Questions you might ask the parent(s):
- What advice did you give (child’s name) after the visit?
- What did you talk about the most as a family on the way home?
- What were the biggest positives about our campus that stuck out to you?
- What surprised you the most about our campus?
- What do you see as the next step in (child’s name) decision-making process?
Each one of these questions will allow you to gain some insights into how your prospects and their family are viewing your school. Based on the answers you receive, you can then determine what your next set of actions needs to be.
Let me add that it’s also important to develop one or two follow-up questions that align with your original question. A good follow up question will force your prospect to expand on, or attach additional meaning to, the answer they give you.
Good luck, and enjoy the rest of your week!