By Ethan Penland, Director of Admissions Services
3 minute read
Every year around this time, recruitment travel starts to slow down. Sure, you may have a few more visits on the books, but generally speaking, the focus switches to summer initiatives, making sure summer melt is limited, and looking towards the next recruitment cycle.
This is a pretty common routine across all admissions offices, but I encourage you to do one thing before you transition into the summer – get feedback from your best allies in the high schools – your high school counselors and college advisors.
We rely so heavily on them to help us set up visits, meet with students, and promote our institutions, but we rarely stop and assess how helpful we were to them and their students.
Today I want to share some tips and ideas on how to gain actionable feedback from these important allies.
- Begin with a “thank you.” As simple as this is, we don’t do it nearly enough as we should – I know I didn’t. High school counselors and college advisors juggle a lot of responsibilities, and setting up visits for us are not always easy or top of mind. We need to acknowledge that, and whether they were able to accommodate you for a visit or not, sending a “thank you” message for how they supported you and their students will bring the acknowledgment they deserve.
- Ask these three questions. I have three questions I encourage every leader to ask the employees whom they supervise, but these three questions are also extremely useful for gaining helpful and honest feedback from high school counselors and college advisors.
- What is one thing I did well that you would like me to continue to do next year?
- What is one thing I didn’t do or didn’t do enough of that you would like me to improve upon for next year?
- What is one thing I can do to help you be successful in your role as a high school counselor/college advisor?
- Get to know their students’ needs. Like with anything, change happens, and with each new class of seniors, their needs change. I advise you to ask your high school counselors/college advisors what anticipated needs their upcoming class of seniors will have. Furthermore, use that opportunity to ask if there are certain topics they would like for you to cover in your visits next year. For example, if they feel that a need of their upcoming seniors is understanding deadlines, perhaps you can provide them, during your visit, a conversation on why and how they need to be aware of various deadlines, regardless of institution. Show you want to be the best resource to the counselor or advisors’ students and not simply push your institution onto their students.
- Find out their challenges. What about helping the high school counselor/college advisor with their own obstacles? Ask them about challenges they faced this year, whether that has anything to do with you or not. The importance of asking is to better understand what they’re experiencing in their roles for you to not only be empathetic to their challenges, but also how you can support them in any capacity that you feel you can. Furthermore, you may find out that you or your institution could be contributing in a way you were unaware of, which now gives you an opportunity to assess and adjust to break those barriers and obstacles.
There’s so much we do not see on a day-to-day basis that high school counselors/college advisors endure, and I am certain that as individuals who are striving to be the best resource to their students, we want to make their jobs a little easier, not harder. If you take the time to perform these tips and engage with your high school counselors/college advisors in a meaningful way, your relationship with them will not only improve, but your experience when working with their students will improve as well.
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