By Ethan Penland, Director of Admissions Services
2 minute read
I imagine many of you were deep into reading applications before (and maybe after) the holidays.
I expect that you have, or had, a pretty hefty amount to read, and you still have many other things on your plate before the fall semester wraps up. So, I’ll get to the point for today’s topic.
Have you connected with your applicants lately? Sure, you have probably had students, or even parents, reaching out to you here and there, but in most cases, after the application is submitted, there is a drop in calls, emails, and texts, at least for a bit, from those students and their parents. You are probably thankful for this, and the students are probably sighing a bit of relief that they are done with their application. But, with all of that said, do you know how they are doing and how they are feeling?
I ask because this is a waiting period for them that, even though they are sighing relief from applying, they still have anxieties building as they await their admissions decision. Or, for others, they may feel confident they will be admitted, but their concerns and worries are more about choosing the right institution for them once they have received their decision notifications from you and other schools.
With this in mind, let’s identify a few simple actions you can take to bring support to this group while they await their decisions:
Ask, “How are you feeling after submitting your application?” – This simple question delivers a very powerful message to the student. The message is that you care. You’re more interested in humanizing the application process for them than just receiving their application. Sadly, this question is not asked nearly enough by admissions counselors. If you do this, they will recognize this gesture as inviting and will be more inclined to share with you information that can be valuable to you after decisions are released.
A great approach would be to send this through a text message. Doing so is more informal than an email, and you usually will get a quicker response.
Make yourself available – Do you have maybe 1-2 hours a week to make yourself available for 1-1 chats with students who have applied, whether through phone calls or video chats? These dedicated time slots can be offered just for students who applied to have a chance to meet with you to discuss any anxieties they have, next steps depending on the decision, and what they can and should be doing as they await their decision. Dedicating 1-1 chats for the applied population adds a personalized touch, and for those who register, consider that another indicator of how interested they are in your institution.
Host a virtual event – This event can be offered in a few ways, but two particular offerings stand out. The first is a workshop for students, who have applied, to learn how to make sense of their decision, once released. If they are admitted, you can discuss what are the next steps, and if they are not, discuss what steps or opportunities are available to them. The other format could be a general Q&A. On the registration form, encourage students to provide questions, anonymously, that they hope to be answered. Both formats can also be tailored to provide to parents, too. Regardless of which direction you choose for your workshop, by hosting one, you can give students and parents a chance to ease anxieties.
I empathize with the fact you are all very busy even after another very interesting fall semester, but take a moment to reach out to your students and see how they are doing after submitting their applications. They will appreciate the sincerity of your interest in them and not just their application to your institution.
If you found this helpful, please share with someone who you believe could benefit. If you try any suggestions from above, let me know how it goes for you and the responses you get from students! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. While you are at it, follow me on Twitter!