Archive for the ‘Parents’ category

Yes! You Can Differentiate Your College Without a Big Investment in Time or Money

June 20th, 2017

You have probably heard this question hundreds, maybe thousands, of times from prospective students or their parents: “Tell me about your school.If you’re like most in the world of in admissions, you’re going to start ticking through a list of the benefits that make your college special.

You might say, “We’re a small school and, because of that, we’re able to give you a high level of personal attention.

Or,

We’re a large school and, because of that, you’ll enjoy a diverse student population and a wide choice of academic programs.

Or,

You might talk about your highly respected faculty, or your winning sports teams, or outstanding student spirit, or your stellar internship opportunities, or a myriad of other fine attributes.

You could list many things. And they would all be perfectly good reasons for a student to enroll at your school.

But, here’s the problem:  The students and parents you’re talking to are hearing the exact same thing from every other college they are considering.

Ouch!  That hurts, doesn’t it?

The data is very clear on this issue, however. For example, in a recent co-sponsored national study 64% of college-bound students said that campus tours look and feel the same. That’s just one of the many times that college bound students and their parents have told us that it is becoming increasingly difficult  to differentiate one college from another because colleges aren’t demonstrating their unique qualities in a way that is meaningful to the students they are recruiting.

Often, when the topic of “college differentiation” is discussed it is in the context of a campus-wide image re-branding; generally a lengthy and expensive undertaking.  However, we believe you can take a simple step today and begin immediately differentiating your college in a highly-effective way.

Kick-start the  process that will make your college stand-out in the crowd.

Think about all of the things you say about your college and all of the reasons you know that a student might select your school. Write every one of them down. Now, consider each item on your list and ask the team: “Are our prospective students hearing the same thing from any other college?” Be brutally honest.

If you think other colleges are likely to be saying the same thing that you’re saying about yourself, cross it off your list. At the end of the exercise, count how many items you have left.

We frequently do this exercise in our Interactive Counselor Training Workshops at college campuses all over the country. And, I can tell you that, in most cases, the big list of “reasons why to attend” gets whittled down to nothing. Then, we challenge the counselors to identify those characteristics that are genuinely special about their school.

This exercise serves two purposes:

  • First, it forces you to realize the attributes that you profess are not really distinguishing you at all.
  • Secondly, it forces you to be introspective and discover what truly makes you exceptional among the many choices available to prospective students and parents.

I guarantee that in many ways your college is truly distinctive. You just have to recognize those attributes and effectively articulate them so that students and parents will see you as being unique and desirable.

I highly recommend watching Simon Sinek’s September 2009 TEDTalk. It’s become a classic because it forces leaders, organizations, and people within organizations to “start with why.” It’s based on Sinek’s belief that people don’t buy “what you do.” They buy “why you do it.” You can watch his TEDTalk by clicking HERE.

The answer to increasing enrollment in the face of the many challenges in higher education today lies in taking an entirely student-centric approach to recruiting where the admission office and counselors realize that “it’s not about the institution – it’s about the student.”  This is powerful when put into practice. Through our Interactive Counselor Training Workshops, we spend a great deal of time changing the focus of admission counselors. We see their transformation and improvements in productivity. Most importantly, we see changes in the recruiting process that exposes students to the information and experiences that truly interest and excite them.

Summer is the ideal time to train and motivate your staff. Email or call me if you are interested in how we can help you have a powerhouse admissions team. And, if you want to join a prestigious group of colleges and universities that are exploring how to best harness the emotional connection that drives students to enrollment, click here for information about of our new co-sponsored study, Emotional Motivators. This study is based on the adage: “Facts tell. Emotions sell.” Students want and need facts and information about the colleges they consider. But their college selection decision will hinge on how they FEEL about the school they’ll ultimately enroll in. This study will tell you how they feel about you relative to the other colleges they considered (or chose to attend).

Continue the conversation on Twitter @LongmireCo.  We hope you will subscribe to Versions of Conversion for regular tips and techniques. For more information about Longmire and Company’s Interactive Counselor Training Program, click here.

Rick Montgomery is as an Enrollment Strategist at Longmire and Company. With over 20 years in higher education marketing, he brings an innovative approach to helping colleges and universities meet their enrollment goals. Rick can be reached at 913/492.1265 x.708 or via email at rmontgomery@longmire-co.com.

Take the Quiz: How Knowledgeable Are You About the Students You Are Recruiting?

June 13th, 2017

Even the most seasoned admission professional gets surprised sometimes. And, we predict that you may find a few shockers when you take this quiz based on input from over 50,000 college- bound students.  Our national co-sponsored studies dig deep into the minds and hearts of the students you are recruiting to get answers to the questions that no one else thinks to even ask.

If you want actionable data you can use immediately, check out the national co-sponsored higher education study we are launching now:  Emotional Motivators. This study is based on the adage: “Facts tell. Emotions sell.” Students want and need facts and information about the colleges they consider. But their college selection decision will hinge on how they FEEL about the school they’ll ultimately enroll in. This study will tell you how they feel about you relative to the other colleges they considered (or chose to attend).

You should get in as a co-sponsor! There is still time. You can get a deeper level of insight on the pool of prospective students you were/are working for 2017 and get a clear understanding of how you were or weren’t tripping their trigger. You can click here for a video with all the details.

Continue the conversation on Twitter @LongmireCo. For more information about Longmire and Company’s Interactive Counselor Training Program, click here.  Subscribe to Versions of Conversion today so you don’t miss any of this highly-valuable information.

Rick Montgomery is as an Enrollment Strategist at Longmire and Company. With over 20 years in higher education marketing, he brings an innovative and dynamic approach to helping colleges and universities meet their enrollment goals. Rick can be reached at 913/492.1265 x.708 or via email at rmontgomery@longmire-co.com.

Things Prospective Students Won’t Tell You … Unless You Ask!

March 22nd, 2017

We all know that prospective students don’t always tell us what they really think. Sometimes they don’t want to be completely honest about their REAL first-choice college because they think they’ll hurt our feelings. Or, they may tell us they had a great campus visit, yet tell their parents on the way home that they’ll never enroll. They often say one thing and do another.

The fact is: These hidden issues are often deal breakers but, when uncovered and dealt with, they can lead to enrollments.

Admission counselors tell us this “not knowing what a student really thinks and feels” is one of the greatest frustrations they face. So, we joined forces with 36 colleges and universities, private and public, large and small, from all over the United States, to explore this reality in-depth and find solutions. Over 18,000 college-bound students participated in our soon-to-be-released study, “Hidden Influences: Revealing the unspoken perceptions that prospective students have about your college and why it matters in your ability to grow and control enrollment.” 

Beginning today and over the course of the next few weeks we will share details from this fascinating study. Today we are sharing strategies and techniques you can use to uncover the things students are holding back. And, by the way, these aren’t strategies we created. These are strategies that prospective students told us will work in revealing their true impressions and feelings.

These discoveries can be used immediately to enable richer, more fruitful conversations with the students you’re trying to recruit.

Half of prospective students visiting a college campus will see and experience things that they find unappealing.HI_Study_Unappealing

Sure, students are not going to like everything they see at all of the campuses they visit. That’s not news. What’s newsworthy is the finding that colleges are not probing to uncover whether negative impressions exist and, more precisely, WHICH negative impressions may have formed.

On average, only 13% of students say that an admission counselor ever inquired if they had seen or experienced anything the student found unappealing, concerning, or missing about their campus.

After a campus visit prospective students are often asked for their general impressions. We say, “So, how was your tour today?” Or, “What did you think about our campus?” About 70% of students will easily share their positive impressions. Will they so easily share their negative impressions? No. Only about 10% will.

Effective strategies to uncover what students really think.

Prospective students, like most people, are naturally inclined to be kind and keep quiet when they see things they don’t like about our campus. However, 72% of students say they would be comfortable talking about their negative impressions if invited to do so.

In a focus group we conducted with college-bound students in preparation for this study, students identified six things counselors can do or say that would prove effective in getting them to open up and share what they like and dislike the counselor’s college.

The single most effective statement (as identified by 6 in 10 students nationwide) in making them most comfortable involved, “The counselor simply and sincerely encouraging me to be open, honest, and forthcoming.”

Six statements/assurances students suggest that counselors use to get them to open up.

HI_Study_Comfortable


Try it out and see what you uncover!

Here’s how your interaction might play out using one of the assurance statements:  “I’m glad you like the campus, especially the stadium/dorms/quad.  It’s great, isn’t it? But let me ask, did you see anything that you didn’t like? And don’t worry. You aren’t going to hurt my feelings and it will help me do my job better.”  Counselors often hold themselves back from asking penetrating questions because they’re concerned that students will perceive them as being intrusive. That’s so unfortunate. For both the counselor AND the student.

Admission counselors who employ this approach tell us that they are often surprised by the answers they get. A misconception can be corrected or a concern alleviated. Not only do they get a real-time assessment of what the student is feeling, but they frequently uncover the ONE THING that will turn an admitted prospect into an enrolled student. It’s simple, and effective.

We will soon release the complete report of this national study, along with its recommendations for action and new approaches in conversations between admission counselors and prospective students. If you would like an advance copy of the Hidden Influences report CLICK HERE.

We help colleges and universities have better, richer conversations with prospective students to help them grow and shape enrollment. With our yield enhancement programs, interactive training workshops for counselors and other tools, we can help you too. Please call.

Continue the conversation on Twitter @LongmireCo. For more information about Longmire and Company’s Interactive Counselor Training Program, click here. Be sure to Subscribe to Versions of Conversion today so you don’t miss any of this highly-valuable information.
RickMontgomery_100x100

Rick Montgomery is as an Enrollment Strategist at Longmire and Company. With over 20 years in higher education marketing, he brings an innovative and dynamic approach to helping colleges and universities meet their enrollment goals. Rick can be reached at 913/492.1265 x.708 or via email at rmontgomery@longmire-co.com.

Six Ways You Can Relieve Prospective Student Stress

November 15th, 2016

Right this minute, all over the country, college-bound students are in the throes of making what is most likely THE biggest decision they have ever made: “Which college is right for me? Will the college accept me? Can I afford it?”   Their parents are offering guidance and counsel because they know this is a crucial decision. Certainly, they too have a hugely vested interest in being certain that the final decision is the “right” one. Let’s face it: For nearly every student and their parent this is a period of high-anxietystress-baby.

No college would want to do anything that would ADD angst to an inherently stressful process, right? No college would do so intentionally but as an industry we do it all the time.

Through our pre-enrollment research, we communicate with hundreds of thousands of prospective students and parents every year and they have been very specific about the things colleges do that add stress to the selection process. Here are the 6 stress-inducing actions most often cited about the college admissions industry:

  •  That we communicate poorly
  •  That we’re slow to offer or reject admission
  •  That we have burdensome processes
  •  That admissions people are not responsive
  •  We are poorly organized, and,
  •  In some cases, they believe we’re being DISHONEST

Are you ready for some good news? Since these things happen more than you can imagine it gives you an opportunity to differentiate your college or university by doing the opposite. You can differentiate your institution by RELIEVING rather than ADDING stress to the college selection process.

Here’s how.

Students and parents have told us what you can do to help. Here are 6 stress-relieving actions:

  1. Communicate often and artfully. Students want information that’s relevant to THEM.
  2. Provide helpful advice and counsel throughout the college shopping process.
  3. BE RESPONSIVE. Return calls and emails promptly.
  4. Make decisions promptly.
  5. Treat each prospective student as you would expect and hope to be treated.
  6. Above all, show a sincere interest in the student.

These may seem obvious but it’s amazing how many colleges fail to practice these proven behaviors that will serve a prospective student and parent well.  Every student has a unique combination of needs, preferences, perceptions and motivations. Identifying and dealing with all of them enables the college to have a deeper and stronger relationship with the prospective student. Uncovering them requires that the college focus on the student rather than the institution.

There are communication techniques your staff can learn that will help them feel confident about reaching out to prospective students to ask the right questions. This is one of the core techniques we teach in the Interactive Counselor Training Workshops we hold on college campuses throughout the country.

Longmire and Company’s on-campus Interactive Training Workshops improve the performance of counselors and staff in areas such as effective communication with students and parents, applying creative entrepreneurship to their jobs, validating past and planned actions against outcomes, and discovering and leveraging the motivations of students (and themselves).

The end result is improved service to prospective students and families, measurable increases in yield, increased counselor and staff job satisfaction, enhanced teamwork, and innovations in work process within the department.

We help colleges with their recruiting efforts every day. If we can help you please call or shoot me an email. Continue the conversation on Twitter @LongmireCo. For more information about Longmire and Company and the tools we have to offer, click here. Be sure to subscribe to Versions of Conversion today so you don’t miss any of this highly-valuable information.

RickMontgomery_100x100Rick Montgomery is as an Enrollment Strategist at Longmire and Company. With over 20 years in higher education marketing, he brings an innovative and dynamic approach to helping colleges and universities meet their enrollment goals. Rick can be reached at 913/492.1265 x.708 or via email at rmontgomery@longmire-co.com.