By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
College and universities love to throw out facts and figures in an attempt to separate themselves from their competitors.
The problem with that strategy is, facts tell, stories sell. I expanded on that idea in last week’s article about storytelling.
To be clear, I’m not saying that facts aren’t helpful for prospective students. They are, when presented correctly.
Anytime you offer facts as a selling point of your school it’s important that you take the extra step and explain to your inquiry, prospect, or admit exactly how they will personally benefit from what you’re sharing with them.
Our ongoing survey research continues to find that most students don’t connect the dots between the benefits that your school offers and what it means for them personally. So, I want you to do it for them.
When you’re able to communicate facts that will personally benefit that student, or even get them to visualize themselves experiencing that benefit on your campus, more often than not you gain a distinct advantage over other schools who either don’t know how to effectively do that, or don’t think it’s important. And when you do it correctly, the end result is positive feelings, which matter because students continue to rely on those feelings to help them understand why they should take the next step (including submitting their deposit).
But which facts are really worth talking about? Here are three that students rate as very important in their college decision.
- How your college or university will help make the transition to college life easier and less stressful. What programs and people does your school have in place to help new students in the two main areas of transition: academically and socially. Share stories about the different programs, resources, and services your school offers, and how those things will make it easier for them to “fit in” and “feel comfortable” as a new student.
- Your on-campus housing. As I told an admissions team last week during a training workshop, you don’t always need the newest and biggest dorms to win over prospective students. Instead, you need to make sure they understand why your current students love your campus and dorm community, and how that atmosphere will positively impact their day-to-day living. That includes talking about the role of your RA or RD’s, as well as the different events that take place throughout the year.
- The food on campus. Every school has a dining facility and other options to grab on the go. You need to prove how yours are different and why yours are better. For example, maybe you bring in celebrity chefs from time to time or maybe your food is locally sourced. Maybe have an eco-friendly dining hall, a unique “student choice” option where every semester students vote on menu changes, or you offer 600 menu items daily. Maybe it’s just the fact that you have a Starbucks on campus. Whatever it is, prove to prospective students that they will eat well and you’ll move up their list.
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