By Jeremy Tiers, Senior Director of Admissions Services
2 minute read
How many young people like starting conversations?
That’s one of the questions I ask during the recruitment workshops I lead. Along with some chuckling from the room, the responses typically are “Zero” and/or “None.”
For most admissions counselors and enrollment marketers, the challenge of landing a good conversation with prospective students continues to grow.
Students are overwhelmed by the college search process, and many worry about saying or doing the wrong thing. Plus, this generation is tired of being emailed every single day…especially when, to quote one student, “A lot of the emails and texts we get all say the same thing. There isn’t anything that personally relates to who we are so it all feels shallow and superficial.”
If we’re in agreement, then I would argue there’s a good chance you may need to come up with a better plan and goal when send out your emails, texts, letters, have phone calls, or communicate in-person.
Instead of overloading your inquiries right now with information and telling them to apply, I want you to share content with the goal of encouraging engagement so that you can better understand how the student feels about what you just shared. (i.e. Is it important to them? Is it something they’ve been wondering or are concerned about?)
The value in taking this approach is simple – and quite massive. It will make the communication or conversation feel more personal and relevant – both of which are super important to this generation.
Generating a response by asking a direct question will also allow you to have another measure of demonstrated interest which is helpful when you’re trying to prioritize future outreach.
Engagement > Information.
And remember, to create engagement you don’t need to tell students everything all at once. Tell them just enough to create a conversation.
Here’s an example:
Instead of listing everything about your school’s location, list two things that your current students enjoy the most, and then ask the prospective student, “Is a college’s location important to you? Is it something that you’ll use to help you decide if you’re going to start your application? If it isn’t important, what are the things that matter to you most?”
Reciting a laundry list of bullet points on a topic is what most colleges and universities do, and it won’t create a conversation. Using a pared down version and then asking a direct question will.
If you’d like to talk more about something I said, go ahead and drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org
And if you found this article helpful, forward it to someone else on your campus who could also benefit from reading it.