There are so many factors to take into consideration when working in admissions, sometimes it can feel like working in a circus. The average admissions counselor constantly juggles the demands of the institution and the department while working for the good of each individual student.
With so many balls in the air, how does the average counselor transform into the superior counselor? Try these seven not-so-secret tools for admissions success to fuel your fire, and watch your admissions performance increase before your eyes.
Nothing makes a prospective student feel wanted like hearing that they’re wanted. Consider placing a counselor in territories that show success for your school. Having a warm body around will help back up search efforts and pick up on pockets of stealth inquiries. Don’t delegate so many staff members who are crucial to office tasks to admissions staff that they can’t travel and connect with students at fairs and high school visits.
Remember the age and attention span of your end user. In web navigation, don’t offer a prospective student what may be perceived as too many screens through which to wade. Make your information concise and easy to find. Try not to alienate the parent, either, who may be “in the driver’s seat” at the computer with or on behalf of a student.
What good is all that data you’ve collected if you’re not using it? Look at your data several times a year to make sure you are maximizing potential success in all markets. And always look a few years back, too, because what worked three years ago should be considered along with the past two years’ successes and failures.
Listen to your existing student body. If there’s something they complain about, address it as much as fiscally possible. Always respond to complaints on social media outlets – and quickly! Even if you don’t have a “solution” in your response, your attentiveness will show that you care about what students have to say.
Maybe it’s time to repaint your admissions office, even if it’s only a metaphorical “fresh coat of paint.” The admissions office is the first impression many students get when they visit your campus. It’s also where they will establish a relationship with your counselors. Make sure admissions looks its best, and the rest of campus will look bright, as well.
Train your student ambassadors well, and treat them well, too. These students should be more than just warm bodies shuttling students around campus. Make sure your student staff is lively, engaging, and knowledgeable – and that they’re happy to be there. A happy, well-trained ambassador will be more likely to give off a positive impression of the school and its students to prospects and their parents.
Don’t try to be all things to all people. Your institution is unique, and this signifier is why people are drawn to you. Make sure you know your greatest strengths and draws, and spend your efforts highlighting those. Sending mixed messages is a liability whose threat of false promises you can’t afford.