By Jeremy Tiers, Senior Director of Admissions Services
2 minute read
Part of being a great territory manager involves doing proactive outreach to different groups of students. If you’ve been doing that, you may have encountered a couple of phrases that you’re tired of hearing.
“I’ll think about it” and “I’m not sure” are popular answers when you ask students about signing up for an admitted student event or start their application.
Seems reasonable, right? The college search is confusing and overwhelming, plus students are scared to make the wrong decision.
But in this case, it’s not really that reasonable. Let me explain why.
In our ongoing focus group surveys with high school seniors and college freshmen, many of them continue to say they actually end up spending little to no time thinking about those things despite telling you the opposite. For others, it’s easier and more comfortable to use language like that and essentially “stall” rather than bring up a concern they have about your school.
Like many of us, students don’t like making big decisions. Along with that, some are worried you’re going to be mad at them if they’re honest about how they feel or why they haven’t done something.
The next time students tell you they want to think about something or they’re not sure, I encourage you to call them on it.
There are a variety of ways you can do this with the most effective being asking a direct follow-up question. You can say, “Help me understand what you need to think about.” Or, “What’s making you unsure?”
The result of using this simple strategy will be one of two things. Either the student will a) fumble around and not really be able to define anything for you – which tells you they’re stalling, or b) they will bring up their objection/concern, and possibly offer up additional information on the conversations that have been taking place with their family or friends.
Once that happens be prepared to lead the conversation based on the information the student provides.
Getting them to define what they’re thinking and/or how they’re feeling (and why) is an important skill that all admission counselors need to hone.
If you’d like to talk about something I said in this article, I’m happy to connect. Just reply back, or email me here.
And if you found this article helpful, forward it to someone else on your campus who could also benefit from reading it.