Starting a long-term relationship (a.k.a. the college search process)
Lessons from dating for each stage in the funnel
Imagine you’ve just met someone you like. From what you briefly know about them, you can see you have similar interests, and you’re interested in getting to know them a bit better. They’re interested in you too, so they send you a message: “Hey, I’ve made reservations for us every Saturday for the next few months. Can’t wait to spend every weekend with you!”
Whoa. Too fast? Probably.
Yet this scenario is basically what many colleges and universities do as they try to woo prospective students into what’s ultimately a long-term relationship. If these colleges were people, we’d say they were coming off as needy or aggressive or just out of touch with the real situation. And if you’re not careful, prospects may end up with the same view of your institution.
Like any long-term relationship, choosing a university takes time and progressive commitment. Here’s the key: When you’re communicating with a prospective student, the “ask” you make must match the level of engagement they have with you at that point.
Let’s explore the parallels.