Posts Tagged ‘recruiting’

College-bound Students Define the Winning College Visit Experience

December 13th, 2017

The campus visit is the golden opportunity to cement the emotional commitments of prospective students and their parents. Visits offer your greatest opportunity to capture the magic that is unique to your college.  College and universities know this. They recognize the importance of creating and implementing a successful campus visit program. They know that visits that excite the students they are recruiting are very likely to lead to enrollment. And, they are well aware that a single bad experience during a campus tour or visit can completely derail a student’s plan to enroll.

These are well-known facts in our industry, yet college-bound students say that colleges do not differentiate themselves through their tour and visit programs. In our national co-sponsored studies, and through focus group research we conduct, 60% of students say that campus tours are “all the same,” and they don’t consider that a good thing. Students tell us that most don’t generate any more or less excitement than all of the others they experienced.

Over 65% of college-bound students participating in our most recent national co-sponsored study, Emotional Motivators, visited four or more colleges during their college search. You might call them “experts” in the college visit experience. And they have very strong opinions about what colleges are getting right, and wrong, with their college visits programs.

What do students say makes for a winning campus visit?

Customization and personalization

Prospective students tell us that tours that focus primarily on the attributes of the college without consideration of their specific interests are “boring” andredundant.” The best tours, they say, are those that feel customized.  Students who receive one-on-one tours where the focus is completely on them and what they want, tend to see the campus visit experience as a demonstration of the college’s personal interest in them

However, some colleges are finding ways to personalize group tours. “The college I chose gave this great tour. Everyone in the group had a lot in common and we saw places we all cared about. I even made friends with some of the other students on the tour,” said one recently enrolled student.

Grouping like-minded students on tours is an effective strategy and can be implemented in a number of ways. Simply asking prospective students a few questions prior to their scheduled visit can determine which group would be most effective.

Interaction with current and other prospective students

Who is the most important member of your team when it comes to having a winning campus visit program? Your current students! Tour guides, student ambassadors, student employees, and, yes, the students hanging out on the quad (or wherever your students tend to congregate) are your greatest assets.

College-bound students tell us that interaction with current students on a campus plays a critical role in their college selection decision. It gives them a feel for what their life will be like if they enroll. Prospective students respond very favorably to current students who are friendly, enthusiastic, happy and welcoming. Some of our clients have found creative ways to encourage such interactions. One college hosts extracurricular fairs on the same days tours are held. The college walkways are lined with student-manned tables and booths representing the various organizations and opportunities for new students to get involved in campus life. “All these students were talking to me and encouraging me to join their club. I felt like they really wanted to get to know me.  That’s when I knew this was the place for me,” described one student.

Another college uses social media and on-campus marketing efforts to encourage student interaction with visiting newcomers. According the Director of Admission the strategy has been very effective. “We remind the students of how they felt when they first visited our campus and ask them to go out of their way to be friendly. It is great to see so many of our students proudly talking about our college to our visitors. The unexpected bonus is that it has served as a subtle reminder to the staff and faculty that their interactions are important, too,” she said.

The #1 MUST DO on your list!

During a campus visit about one-half of prospective students see and experience things about the college that they find unappealing. This finding may be expected since all students are not going to like everything they see at all of the campuses they visit. What is more concerning is that only 13% of students say that an admission counselor ever inquired if they had seen or experienced anything the student found unappealing or concerning about their campus.

You are missing a key opportunity to address misconceptions and overcome objections if you, like many colleges, aren’t asking what students liked and didn’t like, about what they experienced during their visit. Simply asking, “How was your tour?” isn’t enough. Probe for the specifics of what they did and did not like. If you don’t ask, they won’t tell and you will never know the real reason they didn’t enroll.

Taking a turn and shifting gears now …

We have kicked off our series of one-day intensive Yield Season Counselor Training Workshops on host college campuses across the country.

We just completed a workshop at Drew University in New Jersey (thanks Bob, Kay and Heather for being the gracious hosts to the counselors from surrounding colleges who attended). And we have workshops scheduled in Kansas City (at Rockhurst University on January 16th),  Atlanta (at Oglethorpe University on January 18th), Greeneville, TN (Tusculum College on January 23rd).

There will be more. We are talking to colleges around the country about being a host site (there are incentives that make being a host site very attractive so contact us if you have an interest hosting a workshop).

College admission directors and enrollment managers often tell us that they wish they had the budget to hire professionals to train their admission teams. They tell us they know they need training; that their counselors would greatly benefit from learning new skills; and the right program would energize the entire staff. “But,” they say regretfully, “we just don’t have the budget to support the expenditure this kind of professional development often costs.”

Whether you are a host college or not this is a very affordable workshop designed to benefit seasoned counselors just as much as counselors who are going through their first full recruiting cycle. Counselors you send will return home with skills and techniques that can be shared with the whole admission team.

Your admission counselors will learn new methods to:

  • Adopt a student-centric approach to recruiting.
  • Reveal the needs, preferences, motivations, and perceptions of prospective students.
  • More effectively present the value of their college based on what the student (and parent) perceives as being most valuable.
  • Manage the perceptions and opinions that prospective students form about their college.
  • Uncover hidden influences that will impact a student’s enrollment decision.
  • Learn how to differentiate your college.
  • Create and foster relationships with students that will lead to enrollment.
  • Discover the true influence of cost and isolate factors that will outweigh cost.
  • Enlist the support and influence of parents.
  • Share their new skills and techniques with the entire admission team.

The Bottom Line: You can up your game this yield season for a minimal investment in time and money and a maximum return in your enrollment. If you are interested in attending a workshop, suggesting a location, or even hosting a workshop, ask for details here.

If I can help you with your recruiting efforts in any way, please feel free to call or email me. I would love to talk to you about our powerful and effective Yield Enhancement System (YES). Admission offices use this system to improve their mass communications efforts,  have more effective one-on-one interactions, and ultimately, boost their yield. My contact information is at the bottom of this post.

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

Yes! You Can Accurately Predict What Prospective Students Will Think and Feel

November 30th, 2017

Consider the facts:

  • A student’s excitement about attending a college is more strongly correlated to enrollment – by a factor of two – than either cost or perceived quality of the college.
  • Almost all college-bound students (over 90%) believe it is important for colleges to attempt to understand their feelings and emotions. Yet, only 24% of them say that colleges are making the effort.
  • More than 80% of college-bound students say that the relationship they built with a college significantly impacted their decision to enroll.

Today’s college-bound students want to be excited about the college they choose; they want the college show a real interest in them; and they want a personal relationship with the college. 

You may ask, “Is it possible to develop the type of personal relationships the students we are recruiting crave when each of our counselors iks working with a have a pool of hundreds?” Or perhaps, “Our marketing efforts are focused on social media and mass marketing. How can that be personalized?”

Yes, it is possible.  And, it may well transform both your short and long term recruiting efforts. It involves segmenting your pool of prospective students psychographically. It’s about finding out what’s going on in the student’s head and how it will influence their college selection decision. And you can do that on a mass scale.

Psychographic segmentation is an effective strategy that can be indispensable in higher education and can impact every stage of your funnel. By definition, segmentation simply involves dividing a broad target market into subsets of consumers (in our case prospective students) who have, or are perceived to have, common needs, interests, and priorities, and then designing and implementing strategies to make your personal and mass communications more effective to the various segments you have identified.

You may already group your prospective student pool into geographic and socioeconomic segments. And you might overlay additional data sets for the purposes of predicting outcomes (such as enrollment). Predictive analytics is fantastic. As a marketer, I love it. But my sales background makes me want more. I want to understand each person I’m talking to. I want to know what they want and why. I want to know how they make decisions. I want know how I can frame a value proposition that will most resonate with them. I want to know how they can be best served.

Capture the information:

You CAN get this information from prospective students and it will dramatically improve the quality and richness of your communication with them. You just have to ask them for it.

We have. Over 50,000 college-bound students have participated in three of our most recent national co-sponsored studies, “Emotional Motivators, Hidden Influences,” andThe Relationship Dynamic. In those studies, we uncovered what is going on in their heads and hearts as they search for the kind of college they want. We gained insight into how they make decisions. Multiple psychographic segments emerged.

By asking students to describe their personality traits from a set of variables, and after statistical analysis, we uncovered four distinct personality types which make up our Psychographic Dimensions. We labeled them this way (in bold) based how students described themselves (in italics):

  • Warm and trusting: Easygoing, warm, caring and trusting
  • Assertive extrovert: Spontaneous, risk-taker, assertive, social and extroverted
  • Skeptical introvert: Private, introverted and skeptical
  • Analytical perfectionist: Analytical, ordered and perfectionist

In a following set of variables, we asked them to describe what they most want in a college. We then explored the associations between their psychographic dimensions and the attributes they most want. Here are the connections between personality traits and desired attributes.

  • Warm and trusting: Career-oriented, friendly, values, safe, personal and affordable, social, career-oriented, fun, exciting, friendly, safe, personal and values.
  • Spontaneous extrovert: Party school and sports.
  • Skeptical introvert: Diverse and liberal.
  • Analytical perfectionist: Prestigious, challenging and well-known.

This isn’t all we uncovered. As part of the Emotional Motivators study we presented students with a third set of variables that described the feelings and emotions they experienced as part of the college selection process. It’s fascinating to see the connection between their personality type, what they want in a college and the feelings and emotions they experienced leading up to college selection. When you layer these three dimensions you see people you know. You’ll recall someone who fit a specific personality type, who wanted certain things in a college, who exhibited specific feelings and emotions.

Leverage the data:

Imagine the power of reducing these three dimensions into a single code or variable at the end of a record in a table in a CRM. That single code could trigger different appeals, through different channels, with different information and calls to action.

At a personal communications level, admission counselors could have a fuller understanding of each student they talk to so they can serve them best. They can predict what they want and why. They can know how an individual student makes decisions and how to frame a value proposition that will most resonate with that person. A college that gathers this information at one or more points in the recruiting cycle can tailor every communication with a prospective student in a highly-personalized way that will dramatically improve the quality and richness of their communication with them.

For years, we’ve been capturing psychographic and “what you most want in a college” data in our Yield Enhancement System (YES) projects for colleges to assist counselors in crafting a more personalized approach to individual prospective students. Admission offices use this information to have more effective one-on-one interactions and, ultimately, boost their yield.

But now, the capture of this data on a wide scale could offer dramatic efficiency and effectiveness in communications and service to prospective students.

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.

Bob 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 Connect with Bob at Linkedin/in/boblongmire.

[Video]: Resources You Can Use Now to Finalize ’17 and Ensure a Successful ’18

May 23rd, 2017

As summer approaches, enrollment managers and admission directors expand their focus to critical issues like professional development, marketing planning, research and pre-enrollment service initiatives. Meanwhile, many colleges are still in the throes of making their 2017 class.  According to the recently released NACAC College Openings Update, over 500 colleges and universities are still accepting applications from prospective freshman and/or transfer students for the upcoming fall term.

Wherever your institution falls on this wide spectrum of future planning, we have a number of free tools and resources available to you. On our website and YouTube channel you’ll find an ever growing list of admission counselor tutorials aimed at making your counselors even better at their jobs. You can also download the complete reports from our each of our national co-sponsored studies that dive deeply into the hot-button issues that impact your enrollment.  Subscribe to our YouTube channel to get even more. There you’ll find tutorials, up-to-date market data, and a wealth of actionable information to help you with your recruiting efforts, today and in the future.

Our most recent video (below) introduces you to the national co-sponsored higher education study we are launching now:  Emotional Motivators. This study is based on an old 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.

Be sure to check out our Counselor Training Tutorials. At the heart of our highly-acclaimed Interactive Counselor Training Workshop is a proven model of communication that counselors tell us is transformative. The model is simple and highly effective. Adopt this straightforward method and you will see greater success in your recruitment efforts. Our ever-expanding tutorial menu includes sessions covering these high–impact topics from the popular workshops we conduct at college campuses across the country:

Counselor Training Series Overview: Longmire and Company believes that the conversations between prospective students and the colleges they are considering can be much richer and more fruitful for both. Having rich conversations with prospective students provides you with a greater understanding of each student’s unique needs, preferences, motivations, and how they will make their college selection decision.


The Counselor Training Series is just the beginning of the valuable free video tools available to you. Again, check out our YouTube channel for more tutorials, powerful data from national co-sponsored studies and interviews with some of your peers.

As I mentioned earlier in this post, PLEASE consider getting involved in this new co-sponsored study we’re launching. You’ll benefit from it! Previous co-sponsors get involved year after year because it’s inexpensive and they get insightful and actionable information.

Email or call me if you are interested in how we can help. 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 can stay up-to-date.

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

The Four Best Practices of Admission Counselors According to College-bound Students

May 16th, 2017

Just what are the traits of an exceptional Admission Counselor?  Google it and this is what you’ll find: Excellent writing and speaking skills, ability to relate positively to a wide variety of people, enthusiastic, organized, professional in appearance and demeanor, familiarity with technology and data driven systems, able to work both independently and in a team setting, excellent time management skills, and so on. All clearly important attributes for a role that has enormous impact on any college’s recruiting success. But what if prospective students were writing your job description? How would it be different from the stock descriptions you find in a standard job opening announcement?

Here are some clues: In a our co-sponsored study, The Relationship Dynamic, 38% of college-bound students said that their college admission counselor played a significant role in helping them form a relationship the college they chose.

In a separate study, The Value Proposition,” students were asked to identify and quantify the relative influence of specific interactions on their relationship with the college they selected. Across the board, the students rated social media in the neutral range whereas interaction with admission counselors rated much higher, demonstrating a far greater influence on enrollment.

What do students say counselors MUST do?

In our recently released study, Hidden Influences, over 18,000 prospective students are very clear about what they want from a counselor.  Topping the list:  Answer their questions. ALL of their questions, completely!

While this may be impossible in a practical sense, students have a very high expectation that counselors have an answer for their every question. They expect counselors to be knowledgeable about issues relating to cost, financial aid, history of the institution, outcomes, deadlines, classes required for specific majors and so on.

Don’t say, “I don’t know.”  Instead say, “I’ll find out.” And do it!

If the counselor cannot answer a specific question they expect the counselor to find the answer and get back to them in a timely manner.
Students say they develop a strong affinity for a counselor who is well-informed and responsive. It is a key ingredient in their formation of a relationship with the college as a whole and it is influential in college selection.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, students voiced their frustrations with counselors who are unable to answer questions and cited examples of counselors who actually avoided questions and requests for information that fall outside the most basic.

Many students shared experiences where a counselor had given them information that they later discovered is “wrong” and “inaccurate.”  And, students have a very low tolerance for counselors who respond to specific questions with “vague” answers and information.

What qualities do top-notch admission counselors have that lead prospective students to enroll?

  1. They are knowledgeable and responsive. They know the answers to every question about their school, campus, costs, loans, scholarships, etc…  And, if they are asked a question that they don’t have an answer for, they find out fast.
  2. They demonstrate a sincere interest in the student.  They get to know the prospective student as an individual and understand his or her particular needs, preferences and motivations.
  3. They connect the student to people, places and activities that will create excitement about the college. Because they have mastered #2, they know just who those people, places and activities should be.
  4. They make sure to let the students know that the college is interested in them.  They make the student feel wanted.

Here’s what admission counselors need to know.

You know that a student’s college selection is tied closely to the strength of the relationship they build with a college over time. And, you know that creating relationships is a multifaceted, nuanced and crucial part of student recruitment.  But do you know this?  Your role is crucial. You are a powerful motivator when you use all of the tools available to you.

We help colleges and universities with their recruiting efforts every day. If we can help you, please let me know. If you’ve thought about helping your staff with professional development, now is the ideal time to train and motivate your staff. Email or call me if you are interested in how we can help. Continue the conversation on Twitter @LongmireCo. For more information about Longmire and Company and the tools we have to offer, click here. We will be sharing more key insights from our studies so be sure to subscribe to Versions of Conversion today so you can stay up-to-date.

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