By Jeremy Tiers, Senior Director of Admissions Services
2 minute read
Last week during a monthly training workshop for a college in New York, one of the things we discussed was the importance of being more intentional whenever you reach out to prospective students.
A lot of admissions counselors like to email, text, or call and just “check in.”
Here’s the problem with that kind of outreach. When you use those words, students all know what that’s code for – You want to know something. But because you haven’t asked a direct question, they aren’t sure exactly what it is, so most times they respond with very few words.
The best way to get an update on something or to figure out why a student hasn’t taken action or how they’re feeling is by 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.
When you’re more direct and intentional with your questions, you’ll uncover hidden objections, concerns, and fears as well as opportunities to help guide students (and their parents/families) during different stages of the college search process.
And when you’re able to get, and keep, a back-and-forth conversation going, you’ll also find that oftentimes the admissions process moves forward faster.
Here are a handful of direct and intentional questions that I encourage you to incorporate into your upcoming conversations with these different groups of students.
Ask admitted students:
- How do you feel when you think about making your college decision?
- What do you have left to do before you make your college decision?
- What’s the biggest reason you think <College Name> is a good fit for you?
- What’s the biggest thing you wish colleges would talk about more right now?
Ask new inquiries:
- What’s the number one thing you want to know more about right now when it comes to being a student here?
- Can you tell me where you are with your college applications and how you’re feeling about <College Name>?
- What we would have to show you or answer for you before you’d start filling out your application (or visit campus)?
- What does the perfect college look like in your mind?
- What kind of <Fill in the blank> (ex. atmosphere and community, or location) do you want your future college to have?
- Tell me about the wrong type of college for you. Is there anything that you know you definitely don’t want?
Two final tips – First, be prepared to ask some follow-up questions based on the feedback you receive. I previously outlined some good ones in this article.
And second, everything we just discussed applies to your conversations with parents and families as well.
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