Archive for the ‘Worthwhile Reading’ category

Understanding How A Student’s Emotions Drive College Selection

April 25th, 2017

Facts emotionsWhen prospective students are searching for a college they have a lot of questions. They need information. They need to know about programs, costs, opportunities and time frames. They seek facts.

Prospective students need facts but their college selection decision is most often going to hinge on how they feel about their chosen college – and those they rejected.

Most colleges know this. They experience it in every recruiting cycle. They hear students say, “I enrolled here because it felt like home.” Or, “I loved the campus atmosphere.” Or, “I felt like I belong here.

Here’s what colleges DON’T know: Exactly what makes a campus feel like home? What makes for a great campus atmosphere? What makes students feel like they belong? What triggers a student to declare that this college, above all others, is the right fit?

Longmire and Company’s just-announced national co-sponsored higher education study has been launched to explore – in depth – the topic of emotional motivators in college selection.

Colleges know that these emotional motivators exist. They just don’t have clear and precise data about what makes students feel a particular way and the relative impact those feelings have on enrollment decisions. We will be taking a deep dive into this topic in our latest co-sponsored study, “Emotional Motivators: How to increase and control your enrollment by getting a deep and accurate understanding of how students really feel about your college.”

This groundbreaking study will explore how students feel and, more importantly, uncover why they feel that way, to give you a deeper understanding of the students you’re trying to recruit. The actionable insight yielded by this study will give you greater control over your conversations with prospective students, better ability to craft sharper mass marketing messages, and more direction to design highly productive campus visit experiences. Unlike any other higher education research to-date, Emotional Motivators will explore the emotions and perceptions that factor into the college selection process. This study, like our previous co-sponsored studies, will provide you with actionable information you can use immediately and effectively.

We hope you will join a prestigious list of co-sponsoring colleges and universities, large and small, and participate in this study. Co-sponsors find our studies valuable because of the wealth of new insight they gain about their individual pools of prospective students – insight they can use to drive action and change.

As a co-sponsor you receive a comprehensive set of tabulations relating to your pool of students, as well comparative data of others in your cohort and other market segments. You’ll also receive the national summary report before its widespread release.

In addition, Longmire and Company Enrollment Strategists will prepare and deliver a fully-customized webinar to review your individual findings and offer recommendations for specific actions you can take to improve your communications, conversations and interactions with prospective students. For these webinars co-sponsors often assemble staff from admissions, marketing, financial aid and faculty to benefit from the new perspectives, ideas and actions that these studies yield.

We have been told many times by colleges that the webinar alone is worth the small cost of getting on board!

What You’ll Learn From This Study:

  • Are student feelings about you in line with what you want them to be?Emotion study box
  • Positive and negative feelings students have about a wide variety of attributes and characteristics of your college.
  • Positive and negative feelings of other colleges they’ve considered.
  • The relative influence of student feelings in college selection.
  • How admission counselors can effectively uncover and respond to the feelings of prospective students.
  • How prospective student feelings can be captured and categorized for use in mass communications.
  • How to have richer, more productive conversations that will lead to enrollment.

It can be very expensive for an individual college or university to do the scope of research needed to get the answers and insight we get. But by co-sponsoring with other institutions you get the best of both worlds: Data and insight about your pool of prospective students coupled with a national picture, resulting in a very comprehensive study for a fraction of what it would cost to do it on your own. These studies are affordable at just $2,975 (all inclusive) per institution.

I hope you’ll join in and be a part of this important new study. You’ll be glad you did.

For more information or to reserve your participation in this study, contact Rick Montgomery (913) 492-1265 ext. 708 or (rmontgomery@longmire-co.com), Nick King (913)492-1265 ext. 711(nking@longmire-co.com), or me at (913) 492-1265 ext. 709 (blongmire@longmire-co.com). Colleges are signing up now so we encourage you to contact us soon if you are thinking about participating. CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE INFORMATION.

Continue the conversation on Twitter @LongmireCo. Be sure to Subscribe to Versions of Conversion today so you don’t miss any of this highly-valuable information.

RHL_Photo_100x100Bob Longmire is President of Longmire and Company, Inc. He is a recognized expert on the topic of how prospective students and parents form their college selection decisions – and how colleges can use that knowledge to grow and control their enrollment. He can be reached at (913) 492-1265, ext 709 or at blongmire@longmire-co.com. Connect with Bob at Linkedin/in/boblongmire.

Yes, Students Break the Promises They Make to Colleges. Here’s How to Change That!

April 18th, 2017

Do the students you are recruiting have “commitment issues?” As in, telling you they will attend an event but actually being a “no-show,” or promising you that the necessary paperwork is on the way when it actually never arrives?I promise graphic

Whether it’s completing an application, sending in transcripts, attending an open house or taking a campus visit, students frequently make promises to colleges that they don’t keep. With our latest co-sponsored study, “Hidden Influences: Revealing the unspoken perceptions that perspective students have about your college and why it matters in your ability to grow and control your enrollment,” we tackled the question of why students will make and, then break, a commitment to a college.

The 18,000 college-bound students participating in the study frankly admitted that broken promises are part of the college shopping process. In fact, 30% of students say they will make a promise that they know they are unlikely to keep.

And they are equally honest about why they tell a college one thing and do another with 79% attributing their broken promises to wanting to “keep my options open.”  Another common reason, shared by 61% of students nationwide, is that they “thought there might be a possibility of keeping the commitment.” For the most part, the wide-ranging responses demonstrate that most students will seek the path of least resistance. What they do not want is anything resembling a confrontation with a college representative.

Recommended Strategy:  Change the way you ask!

Not only are missed deadlines and broken commitments frustrating to college admission teams, they are confusing. One admission counselor recently summed it up like this, “When a prospective student doesn’t show for an event or complete paperwork on time, I don’t know what that means. Are they no longer interested in us? Did they forget? Is there some other issue at play?” committment chart

Typically, admission counselors ask prospective students binary questions such as:

  • “Are you going to make it to the open house on Saturday?”
  • “Will you be able to get those forms to us by next Wednesday?”

To the student a “yes” answer means “discussion closed” whereas a “no” could lead to an extended discussion, which in their minds, means a confrontation.

Instead, use an open approach:

  • “How likely are you to make it to the campus visit on Saturday?” 
  • “So, on a scale of 1 to 5, how likely are you to come to our open house next week?”
  • “Is there anything getting in the way of you completing your application by Wednesday?”

This technique is far more likely to uncover any barriers that might be keeping the student from attending your event such as a scheduling conflict or transportation issues. Barriers you may be able to help the student overcome once they are identified. The same techniques can be used to qualify any commitment you are asking of the student and can be used by any member of your team. And, this technique can be integrated into your email and text communications as well.

SACAC LogoJoin us for our presentation of the “Hidden Influences” study on Monday, April 24 (9:45 am) at the TACAC/RMACAC/SACAC Super Conference in San Antonio. Bob Longmire, and study co-sponsors Jeffrey Fuller, University of Houston, and Troy Johnson, University of Texas – Arlington, will share their unique insights on the data and the best practices they have uncovered.

We are preparing to launch our next study!

Each year our national co-sponsored studies attract even more colleges that want to “get in” on the new and different insights we give them about their prospective students and students nationwide. If you’d like information about the topic of our next study, and the benefits you receive as a co-sponsor, be sure to CLICK HERE now to be alerted soon when we put together our next group of co-sponsors.
You can also CLICK HERE to receive an advance copy of the Hidden Influence study report prior to its national release.
Continue the conversation on Twitter @LongmireCo. 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.

Are Your Counselors Prepared When an Admitted Student Plays the Cost Card?

April 11th, 2017

During the first of a series of focus groups we conducted during the development phase of our latest study, “Hidden Influences: Revealing the unspoken perceptions that perspective students have about your college and why it matters in your ability to grow and control your enrollment,” we asked the group of college-bound students if they received many calls from admission counselors late in the recruiting cycle trying to “close the sale.”

“Of course,” said most of the students in the group.

“Do you take their calls?” I asked.

Not if I don’t have to,” answered one of the students to laughter and agreement from the group.

When a counselor reaches out to you and you’re not sold on their college, what do you tell them?” I asked.

One student blurted out, “I just tell them they cost too much or I’m getting more financial aid at another college.” Other students in the focus group acknowledged that they say the same thing.

“So, cost and financial aid is the reason?” I asked.

“Not really,” one student said. “But it gets them off the phone and they don’t call you back. I mean what can they say? They can’t give you any more money.”

Another joined in, “Yeah, I call it the ‘Cost Card.’ It’s pretty good at shutting down the conversation when you play it.”

We wanted to know just how pervasive is playing the “Cost Card” as a way to end the college selection conversation? So we asked 18,000 college-bound students in our national study, “Have you ever told a college that your decision to enroll elsewhere was because of cost or a better financial aid package when, in fact, the true reason was something else?”

We found that 2 in 10 students nationwide are using this diversion/excuse with the counselors they are talking to. They are telling you cost and financial aid is the reason for not enrolling when, in truth, the real reason is something else.

This finding has two critical implications.

First, private and public colleges across the United States are hearing this false excuse and believing that their tuition and aid is non-competitive when, in fact, the real reason they are losing enrollments is because of some other issue(s) that remain unidentified. Were colleges able to uncover the real reasons why a student is hesitant to enroll, they may find it easy to fix, change, or improve the thing(s) that dissuade a student from enrolling.

The second implication here is equally compelling: Students have been conditioned to use cost as an excuse because admission counselors aren’t skilled at uncovering their real concerns and objections. For college-bound students and their parents, the college search can be a real roller coaster ride and it is inevitable that questions and concerns are going to arise. For the savvy admission counselor (or faculty member, tour guide, or student caller), unmasking those concerns are opportunities to turn an unconvinced applicant into an excited enrolled student.

What should a counselor do when the Cost Card is played?

The first way to deal with the cost excuse used by a prospective student is to test the validity of it. It’s a pretty simple process, really, that any counselor can learn and use to isolate the real reason behind a prospective student’s hesitancy to enroll. The counselor can simply level the playing field by asking the student, “Let’s just imagine that our cost and aid package were equal to that of the college you are comparing us to. Would you rather enroll here?”

The counselor is going to get one of two types of answers to this question. One variation is the student sincerely regretting that he or she won’t be able to attend because of cost. “I absolutely love your campus,” the student might say. “I loved the people and the professors and the current students and the atmosphere on your campus!”

Another variation is less enthusiastic and convincing. “Yeah, I liked everything and the people were nice. My parents think it’s a good school.”

The former response clearly indicates that it’s a money issue. The latter response indicates it’s something else. And, when it is something else, it’s the counselor’s job to probe and uncover the non-cost objections and concerns the student may have. The counselor may find that a prospective student’s barrier to enrolling is based on a false assumption they may have about the college that, if corrected, would make a world of difference. It could be something based on a fear that the student has about your college; that they won’t fit in with the other students, that they will be too far from (or too close to) home, etc….  Whatever the real reason is, a counselor must uncover it so that it can be addresses and, hopefully, overcome. Doing so best serves both the student and the college.

Strategies and practices for uncovering and overcoming objections are beyond the scope of this blog post but we can help elsewhere. You’ll find videos on our website and YouTube channel that provide guidance and best practices for uncovering the objections and concerns that prospective students have during the college shopping and selection process. I encourage you to look HERE and HERE for help.

Of course, feel free to call us. We’re happy to provide resources and help.

We are preparing to launch our next study!

Each year our national co-sponsored studies attract even more colleges that want to “get in” on the new and different insight we give them about their prospective students and students nationwide. If you’d like information about the topic of our next study, and the benefits you receive as a co-sponsor, be sure to CLICK HERE now to be alerted soon when we put together our next group of co-sponsors.
You can also CLICK HERE to receive an advance copy of the Hidden Influence study report prior to its national release.
Continue the conversation on Twitter @LongmireCo. 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.

8 Reasons Why Prospective Students Won’t Tell You the Truth!

April 5th, 2017

I remember talking with college bound students in the focus groups we conducted during the development phase of our most recent national higher education study: “Hidden Influences: Revealing the unspoken perceptions that perspective students have about your college and why it matters in your ability to grow and control your enrollment,” and gaining fascinating insights.

WhyStudentsDontRevealAmong many other things, we explored why students will NOT tell a college about the things they find unappealing or lacking about the college.

Students in the focus groups identified eight reasons why they are naturally averse to telling you the things they find unappealing about your college. We then presented these reasons to 18,000 students nationwide in the quantitative portion of the study to determine if they are reflective of students across the country. They are.

In this blog post, we’ll share the most common reasons why students are hesitant to tell you about the things they don’t like about your college. More importantly, we’ll offer suggestions for how to deal with each issue. In our view, its part of the job of a counselor, a faculty member, a financial aid rep, a tour guide, or whomever interacts with prospective students to extract and deal with issues of interest and concern to prospective students.

The table below lists the TOP EIGHT REASONS students don’t want to tell you about the things they find unappealing about your college. As you can see, there isn’t much difference in how students bound for private and public colleges ranked their reasons, except for the #1 reason. Students bound for a private college or university say they don’t want to share their negative impressions with you because, “I would not want to hurt my chances of being accepted later.” Public-bound students say, “I doubt my opinion would matter.”

 

Q13c_HiddenInfluencesGraph

Knowing why students are reluctant to share their negative impressions can help you change the conversations you have with them. If you’re a private college, for example, you can safely assume that most of your prospective students may be fearful of sharing their negative impressions because they think it may hurt their chances of being accepted. To alleviate their fear you can provide reassurance that their candor is sincerely welcomed and appreciated, and it will have no impact on your admission decision.

If you’re a public college, your prospective students need to be informed that their opinion matters. Better yet, you can point to things your institution has changed or added in service to students on the basis of what “students like you” suggested or found missing on your campus.

Most of the eight reasons in the table above have an emotional component. Students don’t want to reveal their negative impressions for FEAR of being judged or wrecking their chances with your college. They don’t want to hurt your FEELINGS. They don’t want to be EMBARRASSED. They don’t CARE enough about you to share their opinions.

You can appeal to their emotions to uncover their hidden thoughts and opinions. As we wrote about in a blog post a couple of weeks ago, students will reveal their negative impressions of you if you make them feel comfortable doing so. Students are amazingly altruistic. They want to help you and they want to help other students, as well. Tell your prospective students that they’ll do both by telling you the positive AND not-so-positive impressions they have formed about your college.

Extracting the negative impressions students have about you can be achieved in ways beyond conversation. The 18,000 college bound students involved in the Hidden Influences study offered many suggestions for getting this information through post-tour surveys that go beyond the typical – as one student characterized it – “were we helpful” types of questions.

We are preparing to launch our next study!

Each year our national co-sponsored studies attract even more colleges that want to “get in” on the new and different insight we give them about their prospective students and students nationwide. If you’d like information about the topic of our next study, and the benefits you receive as a co-sponsor, be sure to CLICK HERE now to be alerted soon when we put together our next group of co-sponsors.
You can also CLICK HERE to receive an advance copy of the Hidden Influence study report prior to its national release.
Continue the conversation on Twitter @LongmireCo. Be sure to Subscribe to Versions of Conversion today so you don’t miss any of this highly-valuable information.

RHL_Photo_100x100Bob Longmire is President of Longmire and Company, Inc. He is a recognized expert on the topic of how prospective students and parents form their college selection decisions – and how colleges can use that knowledge to grow and control their enrollment. He can be reached at (913) 492-1265, ext 709 or at blongmire@longmire-co.com. Connect with Bob at Linkedin/in/boblongmire.