As admissions professionals, we often go about doing things the same year after year…after year. We continue to do search the same way, we are still producing thousands of full-color glossy view books that we know students throw away, and we are still hosting the same events the way we have done them for years — no matter the outcome.
In today’s market where there are decreasing numbers of high school students, increasing options available after high school, disappearing budgets, reduced staff levels, more demands by your prospective students, more applications and more visitors, it is time to start asking “Why?”
I know it sounds like a simple question to ask but often we get caught up in the “How?” How will we meet the goal this year? How can we improve the visit program? How can we get more applications? How do we change our communication plan?
Now is the time to shift our focus from the how to the why.
This year we have repeatedly been asking our Campus Visit Consulting clients the simple question “Why?” It can be a hard question to answer. Last week Seth Godin wrote about the topic in a blog post and he gave some starter questions to ask. Here are a few more enrollment-specific ones I have crafted that you should be asking yourself and your team:
Why are we hosting this event?
Why are we doing this aspect of travel?
Why is our information session this long?
Why are we going along this tour route?
Why do we do things in this manner?
Why is this our audience?
Why aren’t more choosing my school?
Why should we invest in the campus visit?
As tempted as I am to help you answer the last one with, “Because I said so,” I know that these questions are integral to your life in admissions. They are open-ended and require both careful thought and actions. However, an answer to them can mean the improvement of your overall visit experience and recruitment process.
Most commonly the answer is, “Well, that is how it has been done for years.” Unfortunately the truth is that years ago when those decisions were made, the market was very different than it is today. Higher Ed Admissions needs to innovate. The way you start to be innovative is to ask “Why?”
Now that we have asked “Why?” please join me and my colleague Emily Welsh this afternoon (or view later at your convenience) as we delve into how you can improve your campus visit this summer during our half-hour Free on Friday webcast.
Read more about our authors. Trent serves as the cXo, Chief eXperience Officer at TargetX. He understands the importance of the campus aesthetic and its effect on visiting families and current students. He is passionate about involving the entire campus in the admissions process; he believes that the job description of each member of the campus community should include recruiting students.
Trent is a graduate of Elon University and a member of TargetX’s Experience Team in Atlanta.