By Jeremy Tiers, Senior Director of Admissions Services
3 minute read
Last week I received an email from an Associate Director who was looking for creative approaches to help increase their number of deposited students.
The first thing I encouraged her to do was run a couple of different queries in Slate to see what their data revealed.
One of the key findings was a large number of in-state students who ranked high in their modeling scores but had not, for a variety of reasons, visited campus. For context the school is a small private college located in a more remote area than many of their direct competitors.
Knowing how important the “feel” of campus is in most students’ decision, I advised the Associate Director to have her counselors offer a live 1-on-1 video tour for those students.
A live video tour on Skype, FaceTime, or any other platform where either the counselor or a student ambassador/guide walks around campus can be extremely impactful.
For admitted but undecided students, this is a way to connect the dots around different things they’ve read about online, or in various messaging throughout the year, as well as what they may have heard from their counselor.
Here are a few keys to a successful video call:
- Collaborate with the prospective student ahead of time to make the video tour feel more personal. Ask them one or two things they’re most interested in seeing based on their interests and intended major.
- Make sure it’s a back and forth conversation, which means the person leading the tour needs to be genuine, relaxed, and conversational, not robotic, scripted, and formal.
- Show more, and talk less. They don’t need to see everything. Aim for quality over quantity.
- Half the time you can be on your phone or iPad talking to the student directly, and the other half you can be pointing the camera the other direction and showing them campus, the dorms, classrooms, and other key spots and resources that positively impact your student experience.
- If you do have a counselor leading the video tour, be sure and find a way to have the prospective student talk to one of your current students – ideally a student in the same major, or someone with a similar interest or background to the prospective student.
- 45 minutes to an hour is sufficient.
- At the end of the video tour, be prepared to ask a couple of direct questions with the goal of discovering the impact of the tour, and what (if anything) the student would like to see happen next prior to making their decision.
While nothing can completely replicate an in-person visit, many of our college partners have found that offering to coordinate a personal 1-on-1 video tour make the student feel important and valued. It also helps to fill in many of the gaps and leaves the student feeling like they have a better feel for what it would be like on campus.
By the way, the Associate Director messaged me yesterday and said that just about every admitted student who was offered a video tour accepted.
I encourage you to give this approach a try and let me know how it works out.
If you found this article helpful, forward it to someone else on your campus who could also benefit from reading it.