Posts Tagged ‘The Excitement Factor’

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.


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


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

18,000 College-Bound Students Stunned Us With This Response

March 28th, 2017

In our soon-to-be-released study, “Hidden Influences: Revealing the unspoken perceptions that prospective students have about your college and why it 2 in 10 graphicmatters in your ability to grow and control enrollment, we asked over 18,000 college-bound students whether they felt the colleges they considered were more focused on understanding their needs and preferences or more focused on presenting information about their institutions.

Only 20% of students felt that colleges placed the focus on them. This feeling was shared by students bound for both public and private institutions.

What difference does this make in college selection? A big one.

Colleges that adopt a student-centric focus differentiate themselves within the college market and reap the benefits. The fact is, there is a positive correlation between likelihood of enrollment and the level of focus a college puts on a prospective student. There is more good news, too.  You can take the first step today to immediately enable richer, more fruitful conversations with the students you are trying to recruit.

Focus on student1

First Step:  Explore every facet of the student’s preferences.

All too often, in interactions between colleges and the students they are trying to recruit (through personal meetings, email exchanges, phone conversations, texts or any of the other ways students and counselors connect) colleges are doing almost all of the talking. Often overlooked is the student’s unique combination of interests, preferences, desires, anxieties and aspirations.

Colleges with smaller pools have the luxury of communicating personally with most, if not all, of their prospective students to probe and understand the uniqueness of an individual and presenting their value based on what the student perceives as being valuable.

Colleges with larger pools don’t have the luxury of having conversations with everyone. But that doesn’t mean they can’t get the same information through mechanisms other than conversation. They can utilize e-mail, text, social and other channels to not only OUTPUT information to students but also to enable students to INPUT information that can be appended to CRM data and used to refine future, more personalized, messages. (This isn’t theoretical by the way. We’ve been doing it for years for our college clients.)

When you shift your focus to the student you will better serve them and more effectively communicate your unique value proposition.

When the student perceives you as unique among their options you will have reached the coveted state of differentiation. Aligning your institution’s value to a student’s specific needs and desires breaks through barriers and creates real excitement for your college that will translate into enrollment.

In a previous higher education study, “Your Value Proposition: How students and parents perceive value and select colleges,” we learned that a student’s excitement about attending a college is more strongly correlated to likelihood of enrollment (by a factor of two) than either cost or the perceived quality of the institution.

Employ proven strategies for best results.

The Hidden Influences study revealed actionable information that colleges can use to uncover and manage the perceptions and opinions that prospective students have about their college and the other colleges they considered. In the study, students suggested specific strategies that colleges can use to uncover and understand their true feelings about the colleges they are considering.

In upcoming blog posts we’ll dive deeper into those strategies and how they can be employed, regardless of the size of your pool.

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 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