The importance of the campus visit has risen to the top of the priority list for deans and directors of admissions at colleges and universities across the country – public and private, large and small. In fact, a cottage industry of experts has even surfaced focused on evaluating and recommending how each campus can “put its best foot forward” with the campus tour, open house, and accepted student day events. So it’s clear that colleges have gotten the message: “We only have one shot to make a good first impression.” Lots of creativity is now pouring into making the campus visit a memorable one, creating WOW moments and WOW connections with the campus community.
But there’s a fundamental piece of the puzzle missing – selling the visit!
Colleges dutifully send out save-the-date reminders for upcoming open houses; have telecounselors call to remind prospective students of their upcoming scheduled visits; and rally the campuses best representatives to appear in star-studded campus programs. Admissions staffs are thorough and deliberate in event management but have forgotten they have to “sell” the event not just announce it. They need to make a compelling case, one that highlights the benefits gained via visiting the campus. They need to persuade prospects and their families to take the time out of their busy schedules and invest a day at their institution. Why? Because if done right it will be clear that a visit is in the student’s best interest. If admissions takes the value of the visit for granted it runs the risk of throwing a great party that very few attend.
Have you “sold” your campus visit program?
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About the author: President Jim Scannell's special area of expertise falls in recruitment - from mentoring admissions leaders to building new demand through data analysis and the development of strategic communications. Jim's administrative career spanned over 25 years of leadership in admissions, financial aid, and enrollment management at Boston College, Cornell University, and the University of Rochester.
In addition, Jim has authored numerous publications on enrollment management including On Choosing a College that is Right for You (Peterson's Guides), The Effect of Financial Aid Policies on Admission and Enrollment (The College Board), Working Together: A Cooperation between Admissions and Financial Aid Offices (The College Board), and Shaping the College Experience Outside the Classroom (University of Rochester Press). Jim is a regular contributor to University Business and speaks at national conferences and seminars such as the College Board, NACAC, and others.
Connect with Jim on LinkedIn.