By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
Last week I had a really fun FaceTime meeting with an admissions counselor who just finished his first year. We originally met last summer when I led a recruiting workshop at his school…it was his third day in the office.
Every couple of months after the workshop he emailed or texted me to share how things were going and to ask for advice. One of the biggest things I kept reminding him was, if you want better answers from students and parents, you have to start asking more intentional questions.
The biggest reason our FaceTime chat was so fun was because he wanted to let me know that he achieved all of his territory goals!
Asking the right kinds of questions helped him to differentiate himself from counselors at other colleges and universities, and it helped him to keep the conversation moving forward. When you’re able to get, and keep, a back-and-forth conversation going with students and their parents, the admissions process typically moves faster.
With that in mind, here are a handful of questions you should ask rising seniors in the coming days and weeks. You can ask these questions as your call to action in an email or a letter, over the phone or on video chat, or in-person.
- Where are you at in your college search right now?
- What does the perfect college look like in your mind?
- What are the one or two biggest things your future college has to have?
- Tell me about the wrong type of college for you. Is there anything that you know you definitely don’t want?
- What got you interested in <College Name>?
- What’s the one thing about <College Name> that you want to know more about?
- What scares you the most about the college search?
- Have you done any virtual campus visits yet? How did those go? Anything that was really helpful? Anything that was annoying?
- What’s the most confusing part of all this for you right now?
- How has the coronavirus changed your college search?
- Walk me through how you’re going to make your college decision
- What are you parents and family saying about the college search? What are they telling you to do? How about your friends?
- Have you and your family talked about the plan to pay for college? What does that look like?
- What do you see as the next step in your college search?
Each of those questions will give you important insights into a student’s decision making process as well as their wants, needs, concerns, and fears. Having that information will then allow you to identify what needs to happen before the student will take the next step in the process with your school.
I also want to point out that early in the college search process it’s less about “selling” your school to prospective students and more about getting their attention and making them feel comfortable enough to engage.
If you ask one or more of those questions and then aren’t sure how to lead the conversation next, go ahead and drop me a note and I’ll provide you with some quick feedback.
I encourage you to share this article with other colleagues on your campus who could benefit from reading it.
And if you’re interested in learning more about the training workshops we lead for admissions and enrollment teams, take a look at this link.