If you work in Development or Advancement at your college or university, you understand the power of a personal connection with your constituents. When an active alum graduates, you know his or her history with your institution, donation patterns, and much more. You know if the person comes back to reunions, attends holiday parties or supports fun, local events sponsored by your department. If he or she is someone you work closely with, e.g. on reunions or class giving, you probably know even more – if the alum was an actor, field hockey or football player, member of student government, or leader in the fraternity/sorority world, member of student government, or leader in the fraternity/sorority world.
Admissions professionals have a similar proclivity for creating a bond with their prospective students and families. While these admissions connections are similar to those of their Development colleagues, the immediacy and intensity of the constituent relationship differs significantly.
Admissions professionals know the application cycle is short, so they must learn many critical factors fast. What are the student's academic pursuits, long-term goals, arts or athletic interests, social passions? What motivates his or her parents? You must establish a rapid rapport and be prepared to impart relevant information, insights, and news to students you see as a fit for your institution.
These advancement and admissions cases are more similar than different. The biggest commonality: both groups know their best chance of success at attracting a gift or application is to stay in close contact with their students, families, or prospective donors and maximize those touchpoints. You wish you could be there to answer everyone's questions, overcome objections, reaffirm the fit, and provide updates on activities of importance to them. But – in most colleges and universities, you simply don't have the resources.
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