By Jeremy Tiers, Senior Director of Admissions Services
2 minute read
Considering how hard it is to get and keep the attention of young people these days it’s important to know which phrases and words to avoid.
There are three words in particular that a lot of admissions counselors, student workers, and coaches continue to use that we’ve found slow down the decision-making process, or worse, stop it altogether.
These three little words are said a lot during phone calls, and they’re also frequently used at the beginning of emails and text messages.
“I was just…”
Have you said that lately? If you have, you’re definitely not alone.
When I’m working 1-1 with admissions counselors they usually don’t even realize they’re saying it until I bring it to their attention.
Here’s the problem when you use those three words together. Whether you realize it or not, you’re giving a lot of students the unintended message that they don’t need to take action. Or, depending on the topic your discussing, you might be making them feel like they aren’t all that important to you.
Plus, students know what you’re often really asking for when you say something like, “I was just calling to see if…” Or, “I was just writing to check in…”
You want to know something – why they haven’t started/finished their application; if they plan to sign up for a campus visit; or where your school stands and when they will make their college decision.
But you don’t want them to think you’re being pushy, so you don’t ask those things directly.
Be direct, it’s okay. Students continue to tell us in surveys that they prefer that. Just don’t forget the importance of being empathetic as well.
Instead of saying “I was just…”, I want you to use language like this:
“I wanted to get in touch with you <First Name> because…”
“A lot of students have been telling me they’re overwhelmed right now. Are you feeling the same way?”
“Have you been trying to figure out if signing up for a campus visit is worth your time? It’s one of the most important things you can do right now <First Name> because when you visit any college, you’re going to get a feel for whether or not you could fit in and feel comfortable there.”
“The deadline for that scholarship is next week <First Name> and I want to talk to you about it…”
Each of those phrases is strong, and they’re going to prompt action. Specifically, they’re going to encourage engagement and/or a response.
As you start another recruiting cycle, I encourage you to really focus on how you start out your sentences when you begin conversations. It’s little things like this that will make a big difference when it comes to how students respond to you, and what information you get from them.
Want to talk more about something I said? Just hit reply or connect with me here.
And if you found this article helpful, forward it to someone else in your campus community who could also benefit from reading it.