How Close is too Close in Higher Ed Admissions?

Building relationships is our specialty at The Parish Group. It’s our job to help your admissions team go from strangers to family in the minds of your prospective students. But where is the line between close and too close?

We all know where that line falls in traditional professional interactions (and if you don’t, I’m sure your HR director will be happy to remind you). In today’s digital environment, though, the line between personal and professional can look a little more cloudy. Just for you, we’ve composed this list of admissions relationship-building dos and don’ts:

DO Follow up with Interested Students

After college fairs and open houses, send a handwritten note or personalized email to the students who expressed an interest in your school. Small gestures like that can make a world of difference to students who are on the fence about their decision.

DON’T Pester Students in Your Follow up

One nice message, maybe two, is appropriate in addition to your general communications flow. But don’t start sending daily reminders to students to get back to you. Even your biggest fans will be put off by too many messages.

DON’T Mass “Friend” Your Search List

If you have enough time to consider tracking down every student on your search list—or any list—then you have enough time to be doing something more effective to build your incoming class. Reaching out to students without notice or invitation looks spammy, and those students will respond as if it is.

DO Reach back on Social Media

Sure, you don’t want to reach out first. But what if after a phone call or two, a student reaches out to you? If your office has specific procedures in place for such an occurrence, follow those. Otherwise, you’re okay to follow back from professionally-maintained accounts in order to answer student questions.

DO Act Professionally on Social Media

Most students who interact with your office through social media will do so with your “official” accounts. However, students who have your phone number on speed dial and require a little more hand-holding, may find your personal Facebook account. If so, you want to make sure you are portrayed professionally on that and all personal accounts.

DON’T Try to Close the Sale from Social Media

Students may want to connect with you and other counselors on social media in order to ask questions or form a more effective perspective of your school. But they didn’t reach out so you could pester them about getting in applications or deposits. Social media can be a sacred space, so it’s best not to push students too hard through their personal accounts.

DO Set Guidelines and Boundaries

If this list has made you question some of your current practices, then your office may need a set of digital communications guidelines. Sit down with your fellow counselors to discuss your unique history with prospects and the rules you can set to build better relationships in the coming admissions cycles.

Need Help Building Relationships?

The Parish Group is here for you. Our experts in counselor training can help your team boost their positive skills and redirect their negative tendencies. Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive or a la carte training services.


2017-02-01T22:20:40+00:00 February 4th, 2016|Admissions Tips|