By Jeremy Tiers, Senior Director of Admissions Services
2 minute read
We’ve talked before about why saying, “Reach out to me if you have any questions” is not an effective communication strategy with prospective students. It’s not direct or intentional enough.
Oftentimes, even the most organized students and parents don’t end up reaching out, which then leaves you with incomplete information, thus leading you to make one or more assumptions.
For the most part, I want you to avoid making assumptions, because making the wrong ones can lead to the wrong recruiting approach being used.
There are however a handful of instances where our data from students has remained very consistent over the years.
For example, we continue to find that the majority of students become increasingly tired of the college search process the longer it goes on. They get tired of the non-stop emails, text messages, and phone calls from colleges, as well as all the confusing higher ed jargon and multiple calls to action.
All of it leads students to feel like they’re stuck – they don’t know what to do next.
I want you to assume that you currently have a good number of inquiries, applicants, and admitted students who….
- Don’t know why they should make time to come and visit campus
- Don’t know what information they need to gather so they can start their application
- Don’t know what questions they should be asking
- Don’t know if there’s something they’re supposed to be doing while they wait for their admissions decision
- Don’t understand their financial aid package, and don’t have a concrete plan to pay for college
- Don’t know how they’re going to make their college decision, and they’re scared of making the wrong decision
They need you to be their guide and lead the conversation.
Let me be clear that sending them a long list of next steps is not the kind of guidance they need.
Instead, they need you to ask them direct questions, explain the why behind things, and ultimately help them understand what to do next one step at a time.
If a recent inquiry is having a hard time figuring out which colleges to apply to, create some messaging that explains the value of a campus visit (how it will help them figure out whether they should apply to a school), and the value of your school’s location. Briefly describe the kind of location you have, and share a few of the things that your current students like to do outside of class – on and off campus.
From there, ask them if that’s the kind of college location and experience they’re looking for. And tell them that if they visit campus, you would be happy to show them some of the things and places you mentioned.
I encourage you to take those assumptions I mentioned above and come up with a short, to-the-point email or text message that addresses one or more of them, and offers guidance.
Or, you could just ask them, “What do you see as the next step in your college search?”
If you’d like to talk more about something I said, hit reply or email me here.
And if you found this article helpful, forward it to someone else in your campus community who could also benefit from reading it.