I’ve really busy since the beginning of June. Outside of the July 4th holiday week, I’ve been on the road at some point every single week except two.
A lot of the trips I took this summer were to lead admissions staff training workshops. As part of each of those visits, I take the time to meet 1-on-1 with each Admissions Counselor, Assistant/Associate Director, Director, VP, and occasionally even the President of the school. I love those individual meetings because it allows me to offer personalized direction and help to each person based on their needs and experience.
Today, I’m going to share with you some of the more popular topics that admissions professionals have been asking me about the past few months, as well as offer some important reminders from my travels that may help you become a more efficient recruiter and/or leader.
- Admissions counselors, particularly younger ones, continue to voice their frustration about taking ideas to their boss and being told no. The reasons vary, but I think it’s so important that counselors or anyone who repeatedly experiences a situation like this continues to keep bringing ideas to the table. If you stop doing that out of frustration, not only are you hurting yourself and potentially your colleagues, but most of all, you may be preventing prospective students and families from receiving improved customer service or a better overall experience.
- On a related note, more leaders (Associate Director to an Admissions Counselor or Director to an Associate Director or Counselor) need to provide context to their staff. Explaining the “why” behind a decision, a change in strategy, or when you ask someone to take on a task out of nowhere can make all the difference in the world. Most people rarely buy in completely without knowing why.
- If you manage a territory, how you keep track of the information you obtain from hundreds or thousands of phone calls, emails, school visits, etc is vital…and I continue to find that consistency is lacking. Very few schools (although yes there are some) are without a CRM. Regardless of where your staff stores this information, it needs to be accessible by your admissions colleagues. When you’re out of the office or busy with another task and someone else there has to deal with a student or parent from your territory, will they be able to “catch up” quickly on the current conversation and truly able to help because they know what’s been discussed during previous communications? If not, everyone can appear to be unorganized.
- Varying levels of tension between admissions and other offices across campus (marketing, financial aid, athletics) continue to decrease productivity and staff confidence. Without consistent collaboration, it becomes a lot harder to provide outstanding customer service.
- Intensive tour guide training is slowly but surely becoming more of a priority on campuses. It’s not just about the history of your school and the buildings that make up your campus, it’s about storytelling, creating effective engagement, and getting your tour guides to understand their role in the college search process and why it’s so important.
- Early in the recruitment process, admissions counselors should concentrate more on developing trust and an environment that promotes back and forth engagement and less about communicating facts and figures about their school. Counselors who take this approach continue to find that the process actually moves faster and not slower.
- Not having parent information, namely their first name(s), makes it hard for schools to truly personalize those communications. Whether it’s changing out fields on your inquiry card or adding this as a call to action in an early email, schools should be more aggressively seeking out this information based on the fact that parent(s) remain the biggest influencer in their child’s college decision.
- Setting up a phone call ahead of time via email or text and communicating the “why” behind your call will drastically improve your response rate with students.
- If you’re an admissions counselor who wants to climb the ladder and advance in the profession, you need a detailed plan to achieve that goal. Regardless of how much, or how little, professional development and mentoring is provided to you in your office, the choice to better yourself is ultimately your responsibility. Take the initiative and attempt to connect with people both inside and outside of your school that hold positions and titles you strive for. Also look to increase your knowledge of all things enrollment management (which is a lot!). You may reach out to 100 people and only hear back from 2…which is better than 0. Listen and take advantage of their knowledge. There’s also your local NACAC affiliate. And when you have an extra 5 or 10 minutes between high school visits or fairs this fall, remember, I’ve written over 150 FREE articles in 32 different categories for this exact reason. I’m committed to helping you!
If you want to talk in greater detail about one or more of these bullet points you don’t have to bring me to campus to do so. Each week at the bottom of this newsletter I give you my cell phone number and my email address. Let me say it again – I’m here to listen and help if you’re willing to take the time to reach out and ask.
Have a great day, and I’ll see you back here next Tuesday.