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The Power of Personalized Outreach

We live in an age of digital automation and 24-hour news and information cycles. It makes human connections more rare, more precious, and more valued.

Despite automation our lives are more complex and relationships more complicated. Everyone is trying to do so much all the time we take multi-tasking for granted. The one thing we can’t speed up or reduce to automation is the connection a prospect makes with a college, and the resulting decision about where to attend.

Every report and statistic I see says prospective students under 25 respond best to social media or texting. It is the best way to make the initial connection between a recruiter and a prospect. The relationship is built after this initial introduction. Be careful not to confuse a social media connection with a real relationship; it is tempting and it seems so easy.

Real relationships are made when people engage with one another. As a recruiter, you are trying to build relationships with prospects. Take that initial introduction and use it as a catalyst for something meaningful. For example, if you want to connect with a prospect about a campus visit, use the text messages to set up a call to find out what the student wants during their visit, or why they liked or didn’t like the elements of a past visit.

What does it mean to a prospective student? Everything. It tells them:

  • you are worthy of my time and attention
  • your experience is important to me
  • your goals are attainable

The real relationship you are developing is the one between the prospect and the college. The role of the recruiter is to be the conduit. Connect the prospect with current students, faculty, and student services staff. 

For example,

  • A prospective student does not want to learn from you there is a rock climbing group, they want you to connect them with the current students and get excited about planning climbs for the next year.
  • Knowing there are writing skills instructors is not enough; a student with a disability wants to engage with staff who will be able to help them with their papers.
  • A prospect and family with an interest in biological sciences wants to learn what the options are after graduation other than an M.D. and connect with faculty on experiential learning that will help them decide the right path. 

As a recruiter, your job is not to load them up with information about the college, but to ask them the questions so you can connect your prospect with people that share their interests and bring out their passions. 

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Jeanne Gosselin,

Born and raised in the Northeast, Jeanne graduated with a B.A. from North Adams State College and an M.S.Ed. from Hofstra University. "The world of digital communication and social media gives us so much to work with when approaching prospects. The tricky part is finding a way to have real conversations."

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