Posts Tagged ‘staff training’

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

Decision Day Has Come and Gone…..Or Has It?

May 2nd, 2017

decision_dayFor most colleges “Yield Season” extends all the way up to the day new students show up for class. While the majority of prospective students may have made their college selection decision at this point, a sizable number are still considering their options. They are still looking at you and other colleges.

Nearly 30% of Students Have Yet to Bond with a College

In our co-sponsored study, “The Relationship Factor,” over 70% of students told us that the relationship they built with their college of choice had a major influence on their enrollment decision. What we learned is that when a student feels a connection with a college, they are quick to claim it as their own.

In the graph on the right, you will note that more prospective students identify April as the month they bonded with a college. Blog-Yield-Relationship-Timeline-RevBut here is the number you want to consider today: 29% of students have yet to develop a bond with a college.   That suggests how much potential there is to connect with students and win their enrollment during the summer. It also suggests that the lack of a relationship may foreshadow melt.

Best Practices:  Turning Reluctance into Commitment

As you circle back to your admitted student pool it is important to have a strategy for building a relationship quickly. Use highly focused questions that show empathy and reflect your sincere desire to help. “What can I do that would be most helpful to you?” “How are you feeling about this whole college selection process?” “Do you mind if we stay in contact? What’s best for you? Email? Text?”

When a student tells you that they’re still making a decision, respond by asking for more insight into his or her decision-making process. “It’s not uncommon for students to still be considering their options at this point but many say that they’ve narrowed down what’s going to be important to them. What’s going to be most important to you?”

Handling the root causes of a student’s reluctance to select your school

  • Lack of information: “I sense you’re a little uncomfortable taking the next step. When that happens it’s usually because the student needs more information or some assurance. How about you?” Find out what information or assurance is needed.
  • Hidden objections or concerns: “Some students don’t take the next step because there is something they don’t like or they have a concern about something. Is that so for you – I promise you won’t hurt my feelings but it will help me understand.”
  • Withholding their true feelings/plans from you: “Of course, I want what’s best for you. And you can be honest with me because I’ll help you even if we aren’t your chosen school. What are you thinking at this point?”
  • Fear of the unknown: “Some students don’t take the next step just because it’s kind of scary. They’ve never been through it before. However, once they do they feel a huge relief and look back and think ‘That wasn’t that hard after all.’”

Obviously, when a student fails to matriculate it is disappointing. But the race to make your class isn’t over even if your numbers look good now. Our research shows that the factors that contribute to the phenomenon of melt are the same issues that are impacting the students in your admit pool today; coping with the reality of college costs, anxiety about finding the “right fit” and an overwhelming amount of often confusing paperwork, among them.

So, what can you do? Follow the lead of the most successful admissions counselors: They know they must continue the building of relationships with their students and gain valuable personal insight about each and every one of them. Many students don’t begin to feel as though they’ve established an emotional bond (aka relationship) with a college until orientation. It’s up to the counselors and others from the college to create and nurture relationships with students who are on the path of enrolling but have not crossed the finish line.

With that knowledge in hand, they nurture a relationship with the student that best serves the needs of the individual. They stay in touch, remain accessible, ask questions and have meaningful conversations throughout the entire admissions process. They make the student feel wanted, important, and engaged with the college. And, they don’t get unpleasantly surprised in August when the student vanishes.

NEWS: 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.

Unlike any other higher education research to-date, “Emotional Motivators: How to increase and control your enrollment by getting a deep and accurate understanding of how students really feel about your college,” will explore how students feel and, more importantly, Emotion study boxuncover 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.

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.

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. 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_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

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.”



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 Connect with Bob at Linkedin/in/boblongmire.

Re-think, re-charge and BE READY for Yield Season 2017

December 15th, 2016

Everyone knows that this time of year is a crazy busy time for everyone. But the truth is, those of you who work in higher education admissions have twice as much on your to-do list than most people. 

Topping that list:  Prep Your Team for a Winning 2017!

Over the next three posts we are presenting key focus points in our Higher Education Counselor Training Series. We’re giving you information and video content that is loaded with techniques that you can adopt immediately for greater success in your recruitment efforts in the immediate future.

Here’s to the Best New Year!

At the heart of our Interactive Counselor Training Program is a proven model of communication that counselors tell us is transformative. It’s simple and effective. Adopt these straightforward methods and you’ll have richer conversations with the students you’re trying to recruit and you’ll see greater success in your recruitment efforts.

By using this model properly, both you and the student will be better served. You will understand the individual student’s needs and preferences and THAT will enable you to align the value of your institution with what the student (and parent) PERCEIVES as being valuable. You will cut through the clutter of what every other college is saying about itself. Your message will resonate with the student.

While the model may be simple, your skill in executing it makes all the difference. Swinging a bat is simple. Great execution makes for batting champions.

The 4-step process begins with PROBING: This really just means asking the student a lot of great questions that have both scope and depth.

In any conversation you have with a prospective student, whether it’s your first or your fifth, and regardless of where you are in the recruiting cycle, you need to probe. You HAVE to ask many questions.

Most counselors think they already do this. But in our training workshops with admissions counselors across the country, we see two common mistakes.

First, the questions being asked don’t penetrate deeply enough to uncover all of the student’s motivations, assumptions, concerns, preferences and influences in their college selection decision.

Secondly, we see questions asked that do little more than give the counselor an opportunity to talk about the college.

The key is to turn the focus of the conversation toward the individual student. Information you provide about the college must relate to only those things the student has told you is important in their college selection decision or, frankly, it is meaningless.

We have a theory that we share with counselors: To have a relevant conversation we must discover what a student is thinking. To be more meaningful we must know what a student is feeling. A conversation without relevance and meaning is just talk.

When you have asked enough questions to have a full understanding of the student’s unique preferences, you are ready to talk about your college and demonstrate how your institution can best meet their individual needs.

This next phase of the model is called SUPPORTING: This is where you’ll discuss your institution’s benefits and values, and you’ll need to focus on what you know is important to the student.

Supporting is an art in itself.

With practice, you’ll be able to not only INFORM the student that you have what they want but you’ll also get them excited about attending your college. The various ways you can support are too numerous to detail here but it’s the part of the conversation where a student’s interest in you will either get stronger or weaker.


The third step of the communications model involves DEALING WITH CONCERNS OR OBJECTIONS.

First, you have to find out if any exist.

That may sound easy but we have learned that most counselors don’t do it.

And, when you don’t do this you are left scratching your head, wondering why the student you fully expected to enroll chose another college. Again, probing comes into play here. You’re searching for concerns, objections, or indifference.

When you find them, you have to deal with it.

Maybe the student’s concern is based on a false assumption about your school. If so, you need to correct it. Maybe they’re worried about something. If so, you need to reassure them. You can’t address their concerns or objections if you don’t uncover them and you can’t uncover them if you aren’t asking the right questions.

Once you have uncovered and dealt with any objections, you are ready for the fourth and final step in the communication model: CLOSING.

Closing simply means getting the student to take the next logical step on the path to enrolling.

You know there are many milestones on that path. But in every conversation you should end with a suggestion that the student take the next step. If the student resists, you have to circle back to uncover their objection or concern.

The model of communication and its four elements is a simple approach to having great, productive conversations that benefit both you and the students you are recruiting.

Remember, the goal is to best serve the student by truly understanding what they need and want which will ultimately make both you and the student more successful.

As I stated at the top of this post, this is the first in a three-part series that we hope will set you and your staff up for success in the coming yield season.

So you know:

We’re doing something new this yield season with our counselor training workshops. We’re conducting them on centrally located campuses around the country and inviting nearby colleges to send directors and counselors to the event. Each will be a day-long intensive interactive training workshop that will prepare admission professionals for yield season success. New and seasoned counselors will benefit.

The price of attending is more than affordable for every college, even those that have little or no budget for professional development. The focus of the Yield Season Workshop will be to give your counselors powerful new skills and techniques that they can put into action immediately. It will be convenient and close to home. Your staff will drive to the event in the morning, participate in a dynamic training workshop, and be home in time for dinner.

We’ll be conducting workshops in January and February on campuses in Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas and elsewhere. We’re continuing to add events. Keep checking HERE as colleges join the list of host sites. And please, feel free to contact me if you’d like to host an event or suggest a location.

[This is Part 1 in our Series: Counselor Training for Recruitment Success. Subscribe to Versions of Conversion today so you don’t miss any of this highly valuable information. In Part 2, we will take an in-depth look at skillful  probing techniques.]

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 Connect with Bob at Linkedin/in/boblongmire.