By Jeremy Tiers, Senior Director of Admissions Services
2 minute read
During the recruiting workshops I lead throughout the year, one of the things I stress to admissions counselors is the need to understand and evaluate the mindset and decision making process of the students they’re working with.
Doing that involves increasing the type of questions you ask in your emails, letters, phone calls, text messages, as well as in-person. Last week I shared an important question that you should ask inquiries who have visited campus in the past six months and have not applied.
Just as important though is knowing what questions to avoid, and there’s one in particular that most admissions counselors, tour guides, and student callers continue to ask that isn’t helpful for them, or the student they’re asking.
“Do you have any questions?”
Asking that or something similar like, “What questions can I answer for you?” rarely generates engagement or leads to a productive and helpful conversation. That’s because it’s too open ended and students don’t know where to begin.
Add in the fear of sounding silly and the fact that students don’t know what they don’t know, and you can see why I want you to never ask that question.
Instead, I want you to replace it with a direct question that is designed to help you learn something about the student based on what you already know or don’t know. As you’re coming up with your question, you also need to keep in mind what stage of the process the student is at.
Here’s a quick example. For inquiries that have not applied, your question should be designed to help you figure out why they haven’t taken the next step. You might ask:
“<First Name>, what do you still need to know about <College Name> before you’d consider starting the application?”
Or, if you think the student hasn’t applied because they’re worried about the cost, ask them, “What’s the biggest concern you have about <College Name>?”
In addition to being direct, both examples use a more casual tone, as well as words like “you” to make the question feel personal.
If you find yourself struggling to come up with more direct questions, shoot me a quick email and we’ll talk about it together.
And if you found this article helpful, I encourage you to forward it to someone else who could also benefit from reading it.