Welcome to May! As of this writing, there are just over 100 days left in the Class of 2022 recruitment campaign for most campuses around the world. You may be asking yourself, “What, as an admission counselor, can I do to finish strong?”
I started out as a counselor more than 25 years ago and can remember the highs and lows of May 1 during that time. I could see the stress on my boss’s face and feel the tension in the office and around the campus each year. Even when we were on a record pace, there was always that feeling of anxiety that comes with the month of May. It’s important to remember: these feelings are normal, and you’re not alone.
As you navigate these next 100 days, also remember that opportunity is right around the corner. Students change their minds. They change what school they’re interested in. They decide they are finally going to visit and apply. And yes, for some, they take the SAT for the first time this week … or in June! COVID and the uncertainties around funding have played into this, but you can handle the stress that accompanies these dynamics.
Here are three things you can do to stay resilient and finish strong as you hit the homestretch of the 2021-22 recruitment cycle.
1. Drive Your Message
Have you told your prospective students, “WE WANT YOU!”? Be upfront about it. Do you have compelling messages ready from influential alumni, faculty, and staff? It’s time to deploy them. Also, engage your social media to drive your value propositions and outcomes.
2. Know Your Students
Make a list of the top 50-100 applicants you are working with — a list that evolves and changes based upon their behavior as they interact with your website, your digital messaging, and your phone calls. If you have graded and qualified your applicants, this should not be a problem. Also, keep tabs on whether they have completed everything necessary to show up in August.
3. Build Connections
Inviting families to campus for lunch, or to a virtual engagement, is important for answering those last-minute questions and providing the high level of customer service families are expecting. Also, this is a good time to introduce prospective students to your student ambassadors. Beyond parents, try to maintain connections with high school counselor staff, coaches and other influencers that may help you.
Obviously, this list is not exhaustive — just a few things you, as a counselor, can be doing to help get to the finish line strong. Be sure to speak with your director, your mentor, or give me a call. I will help relieve some of that stress for you. You’ve got this!
By Christopher Harris, Ed.D., Senior Enrollment Strategist, Capture Higher Ed