What Do 96% of College Prospects Really Want You to Ask Them?

November 15th, 2017 by Rick Montgomery Leave a reply »

“It felt like home.”

“I felt welcomed.”

“It’s the right fit for me.”


Every admission pro knows these are some of the key phrases students use to explain their ultimate college choice. But, what do these phrases really mean? And, more importantly, what can a college do to create the environment that elicits those responses?

Those are the questions we set out to answer with the national co-sponsored study “Emotional Motivators.” To date, over 10,000 recently enrolled students have opened up to us about their feelings and emotions and the impact those had on selecting their college.

[Full disclosure:  The study is underway and I am sharing just a few preliminary findings. However, at the current sample size, the margin of error at the 95% level is +/- 1%.]

The data is rich with opportunities for innovative admission departments to distinguish themselves in the marketplace. There are many surprising insights along with validation of things you may have always thought were true.

For instance:

An overwhelming majority of students (80%) experience anxiety while searching for the right college. Yet, only 36% of students reported that any college ever made an effort to address the issue with them.

When a college takes steps to address and alleviate a student’s anxieties there are huge payoffs for both the student and the college. Most  students (79%) tell us that colleges that make the effort are far more attractive to them.  (Read more about that here.)

College bound students want you to to ask about their feelings and emotions. Nationally, 65% of students tell us that it is “Very Important” for colleges to make an effort to understand their feelings and emotions.

In total, 96% of students say that this is “very” or “somewhat important” that a college reach out to them about their feelings. Yet, when asked about the colleges they most seriously considered, only 24% of students reported that any ever talked to them about their feelings and emotions.

Take 3 Simple Steps for BIG IMPACT

  1. Train every member of your team to take an emotional temperature on each prospective student. You will likely start with your admission counselors but don’t forget the front-line phone operators, student ambassadors, financial aid staff, etc…
  2. Develop a system to capture the information each student shares with you.
  3. Report and route this data to appropriate parties. For example, when you learn that Lindsey is anxious about dorm living you arrange for a housing representative to follow-up to alleviate her concerns. Jason, who shares his concerns about fitting in, is likely to feel more comfortable after a call from a student ambassador who can paint a picture of what his life will be like at your college.

We have more to share; a lot more. In future blog posts we look forward to revealing many of the answers to very tough questions such as what it means when a student says, “it was the right fit” or “it felt like home.” We will tell you what your college can do (and should NOT do) to make a student feel that way. We will share with you which communication channels that students tell us helped them form and grow an emotional connection with a college. Spoiler Alert:  This one surprised us!

If you want to capture this powerful data about what students think and feel about your college, there is still time to 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. We have been told many times by colleges that the webinar alone is worth the small cost of getting on board!

You get a deeper level of insight on the pool of prospective students you were 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 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.

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