In college recruiting – especially this time of year – there is often a singular focus from coaches who are doing all they can to ask the right questions of their recruits in order to get one thing from them:
Their commitment to visit campus.
That’s the holy grail of college recruiting, no matter what the age of the recruit. And what most coaches end up focusing on are the questions they can ask a recruit that will get them engaged and talking, inching them closer and closer to that campus visit you’re coveting.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all.
But it’s only half the story.
As our research clearly shows, getting them to campus – while vitally important in the process – simply moves them into a different phase in the typical recruit’s mind. And yet, the college coaches we have worked with for more than a decade tend to slip into the thinking that “once we’ve had them on campus, we’ve answered all their questions.” What’s more to talk about or ask them, right?
That different phase of your recruit’s mindset is an important thing for you to explore, Coach. In most cases, your recruit is ready to reveal an entirely new set of information and feelings to you following their visit to your campus. If, that is, you ask them.
So, what are some of the core questions we recommend based on the focus group research we’ve compiled with this generation of prospect? I want to outline several key questions that every college coach should ask their recruits once they’ve been on campus for an unofficial or official recruiting visit:
- “Walk me through what you see happening next for you in this whole process”. In most cases, once your prospect has visited your campus, their internal agenda has changed. What they thought they were going to do, and how they feel, before the visit has probably now changed. Smart recruiters should want that information so that they can adjust their recruiting strategy accordingly.
- “How did our visit affect the timeline you and your family had for making a final decision?”. Don’t ask ‘yes/no’ questions, ask ‘how/why’ questions. You want to really understand what they are thinking now that the visit is done, and – like the first question – find out way has changed. If they’re going to make their decision in the next two weeks, compared to the next ten months, you need to know. Don’t allow surprises to define the reasons you lost a recruit you really needed.
- “What other programs do you see yourself taking seriously at this point?” Don’t assume. Even if they’ve told you who they were looking at prior to the visit, double check after the visit. It may have changed. Often times, we find that it does.
- “What other college campuses do you still feel like you want to actually visit before you make a final decision?” Just like the previous question, their answers often change after the visit as opposed to prior to the visit. We’re wanting to develop a good overall picture of what their whole process looks like, and who they are seeing as the primary players. It’s a different question than the one that precedes it, so make sure you ask it at some point soon after your prospect’s visit to your campus.
- “Give me two or three big things that you wish you could change about our campus or our program now that you’ve been here.” The temptation is to let them take a pass when they squirm at answering this question. Don’t give in. Have them define what they would change about your campus now that they’ve seen it in person…EVEN IF it’s not something big. In fact, you can tell them that even if it’s something small in their mind, you still want to know. Small discomforts might be used at the end to justify why they aren’t going to choose you and your program…if you ignore them after the visit, and then don’t work to change their minds through consistent recruiting communication.
- “What did your parents say they liked about our campus and the whole visit?” The parents, as you know if you’ve followed our recruiting search or had us on your campus to explain the details of a family’s decision making process, are key. You absolutely need to understand what they like – or didn’t like – about the visit. From there, you can formulate a strategy as to how you will want to separately recruit the parents during the stretch run.
These six key questions are just the start of effective questioning following the visit. Based on their answers, you can develop more questions that are going to give you insights on what they are thinking – and what you next set of actions need to be.
If you don’t ask the questions, or naively assume that their visit to campus answered all of their questions, you risk wasting all of your hard work up to that point. Continue your job as a recruiter, Coach. It’s important if you want to develop consistent post-visit success.
Developing the right skill sets to win consistently in recruiting are easy to attain. We’ve set up a complete course that offers serious recruiters comprehensive training, along with certification that coaches have completed the process. It’s getting great reviews by the coaches who are completing our Tudor University recruiting training. Click here to get the details and invest some time into making yourself a better recruiter.