I've just completed a week long slate of college visits with my daughter, a rising senior in high school. After 25 years in the education marketing and strategy industry as a professional, this was the first time I've had a chance to experience the admission and recruitment process as the client. And, it was enlightening, to say the least. So, for the enjoyment of our followers, and to help point out the seemingly obvious to enrollment strategists everywhere, here's what I learned.
Keep it Simple - When families are visiting your campus, they are undoubtedly on tour elsewhere that week. Don't assume that yours is the only school they are looking at and keep the scheduling simple and on time.
Get Admissions Folks Out of the Way - I've never seen a family choose a school or college because of the admission personnel. Admission officers indeed play an important role in information dissemination but their most important job is to facilitate personal interaction with folks that the family really want to meet. Actually meeting personally with a faculty member or director of a program is so important to the family because that's where the real program resides.
Tours Matter - Train your student ambassadors well or it will come back to bite you. Tours really matter, and poorly run tours or inaccurate information really shows. Enough said.
Read the Client, Not the Script - So many schools are so focused on pushing their content out the door that they forget the audience. My favorite example of this occurred last week. When we arrived to check in for our campus visit that we travelled over 1500 miles to attend, the receptionist only handed us a visit brochure inviting us to attend a campus visit day. Seriously? We came all the way to visit campus only to be given a visit brochure? Focus on the student and family and what they need to know, not what some communication plan tells you to spit out.
Overall, it was an enlightening week. We saw some great colleges, bonded more together as a father and daughter, and learned a lot in the process. There's lots of great enrollment efforts out there, but it doesn't take much to make a mess of it.