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Overcome Their Internal Motivations

Overcome Their Internal Motivations

Your admissions counselors would tell you they do not want you to do this. But to make them happy in their job, you should not listen to them.

It’s counterintuitive, I know. In a series focused on a melancholy admissions workforce, I’m telling you to override the clearly stated desires of your team. But hear me out.

Your admissions counselors are working through competing motives.

Short term motivation: comfortable conversations with students who enjoy talking about the institution.

Long-term motivation: successfully exceeding enrollment goals, generating revenue for the institution, and bringing in an interesting, diverse class of talented students.

Here’s the problem — those two motivations are at odds with each other.

Suppose you allow the short-term motivation for counselors to remain in their comfort zone. In that case, they (and you) will not be persuading students who are still resistant to the idea of enrolling at your institution.

Sure, your counselors will feel good about their work in March.

But come May 2? They’ll wonder what went wrong.

“Are counselors calling enough?” is an age-old question of admissions directors and an age-old frustration of admissions counselors. I get it. That’s why I discussed the importance of correctly trimming down the calling list two weeks ago.

However, nothing can change the fact that the most helpful thing a counselor can do to improve next fall’s enrollment numbers is persuading a student who wouldn’t otherwise enroll to join your campus.

So, the tactic here is pushing them outside their comfort zone. This year, more than ever, you need to do so carefully. Push them too hard, and you might just push them right out the door. But if you leave them where they are, they’ll feel disappointed, you’ll miss your goals, and everyone will be wondering what went wrong.

Help them to reorient now, and they’ll celebrate their results and their work at the end of the cycle.

Teege Mettille
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