By Jeremy Tiers, Senior Director of Admissions Services
3 minute read
Over the past month I’ve shared multiple articles that contain tips to help generate conversations with this next class of prospective students.
One of the most common questions I get every summer is, “What do I talk about first?”
Before I answer that, think about how you feel anytime you’re shopping for something and you get approached by a salesperson that you don’t know.
Are you hoping they launch right in to “selling” you something and pushing you to take action right away?
Oftentimes when someone we don’t know takes that approach we end up ignoring whatever they start to tell us because of how they started off the conversation.
Understanding what topics most students want to hear about in the early stages of their college search is extremely important.
For the past three years, Tudor Collegiate Strategies has asked thousands of students to tell us what topic, besides their intended academic major, did they want more information about right away?
The top two answers continue to be the same:
Financial Aid ranks number one (34.7%) followed by careers related to the their major or the majors that they’re interested in (25.3%).
Both of those consistently rank ahead of things like the dorms, student life and activities, as well as your school’s location.
Knowing that information, you could share different things related to affordability, scholarships, and careers related to their intended major with your new inquiries.
Let me give you another approach to consider. It’s one that will feel even more personal.
At the beginning of your email or your in-person conversation, touch on the fact that you understand college is a really big decision that can be stressful, even if it is exciting. Mention that your goal is to help make this process easier, and one of the ways you can do that is by getting a better understanding of what they know, what they don’t know, and what they want to know about.
Next, mention that a lot of students at this point typically ask you about one of two things – Financial aid or careers related to the major they’re thinking about. Then use this question as your call to action:
“What would you like to see us talk about next? Is it one of those two topics, or is it something else?”
If you want your messaging and conversations to feel more personal and helpful, make sure you start with something they want to hear, not something that you think they need to hear. There’s a big difference.
Once you get their feedback, remember, you don’t have to tell them everything all at once. You just need to say enough to keep a back and forth conversation going. Make it your goal to figure out what information the student needs to know before they’re willing to consider taking the next step.
If you’d like to talk more about something I said in this article, let’s do it. Simply reply 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.