Conducting calling campaigns to reach out to Gen Z may at first feel counterintuitive. After all, this is the post-landline generation—one that prefers texting over talking on the phone. 

Calling used to be a dominant force in this industry. As we venture further into the 2020s, we see text, email, and mail as prevailing methods of communication. However keeping a variety of mediums, especially ones not as commonly used, can help you stand out from your competitors.

Plus, calling is one of the least expensive outreach methods today. And in using it, you receive great data points that could spur additional insights into the population you’re recruiting. We talked with Susan Dileno, the VP of Enrollment Management at Mount Saint Mary’s University – LA, to hear her thoughts on the benefit of calling campaigns.

Counselor Productivity

“Calling is still one of the highly ranked preferred methods of communication. There’s value in identifying leads through phoning, as there will always be that outlier student recipient who’ll enroll.”

Dileno mentions staffing shortages as the reason her team began running outsourced calling campaigns. Even with her current, fully-staffed team, they opted to keep the calling going. 

For one, outsourcing calls helps keep Dileno’s team focused on more qualified leads. 

“Making cold calls can be discouraging. By outsourcing this, we’ve established a better quality of work for our counselors so they can focus on nurturing productive inquiries, reviewing applications, and traveling.”

By focusing on yielding moments rather than the paper chase, you can take hundreds of potentially unqualified leads off a counselor’s table.

Source Influx 

With the switch up of College Board’s privacy rules, many schools are (rightfully) diversifying their name sources. 

There are your traditional vendors like Encoura and CBSS. Then you have platforms like CollegeVine and Niche which are growing in popularity and let students raise their hands for further contact. Not to mention the amount of students using social media as a college search tool. 

“The vast influx of sources can make it difficult to juggle all your leads,” says Dileno. Utilizing calls can help you weed out unqualified leads and find those standout students who are as equally interested in you as you are them.

Good Faith and Customer Service

Nowadays, students are applying to far more colleges than in decades past. And as the number of students with incomplete applications grows, so does the necessity to remind them of what materials are needed. 

However they are getting bombarded with emails from a multitude of schools. So your initial email outreach letting them know you’re missing their transcript may get buried in the pile. 

That’s why calling is a great option in this instance. It provides personalized reinforcement of the need for them to take a desired action, such as submitting their transcript. 

“Calling answers that desire for immediate response,” Dileno says. 

Phoning can cut the slow back and forth of emails while tapping into that impatient characteristic of our Gen Z applicants. 

“Gen Z also has that desire to be recognized. Even if they initially don’t pick up, phoning them multiple times showcases our school’s interest in them,” Dileno tells us. 

Rightfully so, attempts at more direct outreach could positively sway a student. They see that your school is interested in having them on their campus, and in the competitive admissions processes of today, that could go a long way!

Additionally, this is a great way to get potentially waning students back to the table.

The Parish Group’s Quick Tips for Successful Calling 

Setting up calling campaigns doesn’t have to be a shot in the dark. The Parish Group has the tips you need to set your campaign up for success.

First, you’ll want to make sure the script is written in such a way that callers can answer easy questions. As well, they can alert students of their whereabouts within the application process. 

In doing this, your admission counselors can handle the more nuanced questions a student may have.

We recommend making at least three phoning attempts and keeping those calls short and sweet—between three to seven minutes. This gives both parties enough time to discuss general questions without needing to get into the nitty gritty. It also prevents callers from eating up too much of the recipient’s time. 

Keep in mind what the most efficient times are to call. (Meaning: don’t be the reason a student gets detention for their phone going off in class.)

Weekday evenings are a great window of time, as both students and parent influencers are most likely home. Nix that Friday evening call though! They might have plans that don’t involve talking to colleges. 

We’ve also seen success in calling on Saturday mid-afternoons, where the family (and the teenager who may enjoy sleeping in) are up and around to talk college.

Interested in Learning More about Calling Campaigns? 

Whether you’re considering conducting calling campaigns for your institution or want advice on other variable outreach methods, The Parish Group is at your service. 

In coordination with our call center partner, we offer custom, targeted scripting for your call outsourcing needs. 

Learn more about our student search services by calling our office at 828-505-3000 or reach out at

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