By Jeremy Tiers, Senior Director of Admissions Services
3 minute read
Want to know something that prospective students say gets really old fast and quickly becomes annoying?
“Hi Jeremy, how are you doing? How’s school going? What did you do last weekend? Do you have any questions about college? Cool, have a great week and I’ll check back with you again soon.”
Do your emails or text messages ever sound like that? If they do it’s okay, you’re not alone.
While “checking in” may seem like you’re being helpful, it’s a bad habit that needs to be broken. Let me explain why.
There’s no substance to checking in.
When you do that, students tell us they’re not really sure what you’re trying to accomplish or what they’re supposed to take away from a conversation like I described earlier. It’s not exciting for them, and some even wonder if the only reason you do it is because you were told to contact all the students you work with.
On top of that, checking in doesn’t differentiate you from your competitors. To stand out in 2022, there needs to a clear purpose to every conversation you initiate. (Sidenote – If you’re a leader reading this article, what we’re talking about should apply to the conversations you have with the people you manage).
Always be thinking, what can I learn about this student that will help me help them figure out if the student experience we offer aligns with their wants and needs.
Or, what can I ask to better understand how this student feels about the possibility of being a student here, or why they haven’t taken the next step in the process.
The best way to do all those things involves being direct and intentional with the questions that you ask. It’s an important skill and one that many admissions counselors and leaders tell me they need to improve on.
So what should you consider asking in your future messages? Here are a few ideas:
Consider asking your inquiries:
- What’s holding you back from applying?
- What’s something that you think makes one college better than the rest?
- What kind of community are you looking for in your future college?
Consider asking your admitted students:
- What’s the biggest reason you think <Your College Name> is a good fit for you?
- How are you feeling about financial aid and paying for college?
- When do you see yourself making your college decision?
When your communications have a purpose, not only will you uncover objections, concerns, and fears, you’ll find opportunities to help guide and support students (and their parents/families) during different stages of the college search process.
Consistently doing that will also help you build better relationships that generate higher student engagement plus responses like this one that a college partner of ours received last week.
“I have been following your emails, and you have influenced my consideration for <College Name>! To answer your question, I have not decided on a major. I have several interests including political science, history, and communications/media. Thank you for putting in the time to help me find my future! :)”
Got a question about something in this article? Go ahead and reply back or email me here.
And if you found this article helpful, I encourage you to forward it to someone else on your campus who could also benefit from reading it.