In last week’s Recruitment Minute, Render authenticity (Part 1), I talked about why it is important to render authenticity in your campus visit experience. In this week’s conclusion, I want to help you understand a few ways you can move that process along on your own campus.
College is a transformative experience.
Most colleges and universities hope to light a spark within their students, encouraging them to spend their lives learning something new, trying something different and striving to be their best. Institutions want students to participate in class, sign up for an internship, study abroad, engage in community service, live in the residence halls — and most importantly — learn about themselves.
But often, we forget to tell the stories behind those experiences during a campus visit. We simply tell prospective students that when they come to the institution they can do those things.
You need to show a real student’s room on campus rather than a room that looks like Bed Bath and Beyond and the Campus Bookstore exploded in it. You need to go into the “boring classroom,” sit down and talk about what it is like to engage with a professor and interact with the other students in your class. You need to burst the bubble surrounding prospective families and say hello to tours as they walk by.
You must dive into what matters. You, as an admissions person or member of your campus, can eliminate the need for services like those provided by insidervisit.com that promise to match you up with a real student, not a campus tour guide, in order to get the “inside” story on a school, and therefore circumnavigate the admission office and their “canned responses.”
An article posted last week on the Huffington Post (originally from hercampus.com), 10 Things That Matter When Picking a College (& 10 Things That Don’t), should be a mandatory read for every high school senior and parent. While it may not completely sway their train of thought, it will at least get them thinking.
The article tries to push prospective students to think below the surface level to what is really important to them when making a college choice. In the writer’s words, “ignore all the other, silly stereotypes that build up around a school…tune out what everyone else thinks and focus on what fits for you.”
It’s your job as a school to help them see what kind of student thrives in your environment.
The bottom line is that each and every college and university must acknowledge what’s real and fight the greater culture that says, “show off what is pretty.”
As the article, Authenticity is great!!! Just as long as you’re not TOO authentic says, an institution that doesn’t show what is real is “skirting their obligation to help prospective students make informed decisions about where to spend the next 4+ years of their life.”
Render authenticity. Own who you are. Enroll best fit-students. And most importantly, whether you are in admissions or not, change the pieces you can control.