How to solve a problem like Monday

The Monday spike in inquiries that we know every admissions office experiences isn’t something that can simply be “sucked up”. Monday sets the tone for not only your current working week but every week that follows. Seriously. Sort Monday out and we take a massive step to sorting the entire future of your ‘working week’ out. Bold assertion? Absolutely. True? Yes, absolutely. 

What if you could respond to more inquiries at your busiest time? 

We spoke with three of our US partners: University of California, Irvine, Lamar University, and Arapahoe Community college, and found that on average, each university engaged in 420 conversations with students between 2-3 pm on a Monday.

That is a lot of conversations by anyone’s measurement. In fact, it’s close to being an impossible number for most teams to be able to deal with without support – 7 a minute? Even if there were 3 of you, just having conversations with prospective students, this would be tough. So what gives?

Admissions professionals wear a lot of hats: recruiter, student advisor, student counselor, life coach, etc, etc.

They begin their career with the intention of helping potential students make a decision that will impact the rest of their lives. Driven by their passion to help young adults get ready for college and to guide them through the same journey they probably once experienced, the admissions professionals on the front line are often the very first voice or face that most prospective students will encounter. But as we’ve just highlighted above, and let’s face it if you’re reading this, you are no doubt aware, admissions teams are busy. Very busy. As such that first interaction might not always be quite as perfect as anyone would like. Through no fault of anyone’s own making there is, quite simply, way too much to do and nowhere near enough time. 

So far so obvious. No more scene-setting, everyone is busy, everyone is trying to achieve more with less – so how do we fix that? Permanently. 

Allow us to make an assumption based on our experience working with 100+ schools, universities, and colleges globally: every day you are inundated with the same, very important, but repetitive questions from students – thousands of inquiries, similar in nature that have set answers requiring no additional thought or input from yourself, e.g. 

  • “When is the application deadline?”
  • “What GPA do I need?”
  • “How do I apply for financial aid?”

Hopefully – for the purpose of this blog (!) – this sounds familiar. You do not need to answer these questions. Sure, the questions need answering by someone (or something) but that does not, and in our opinion should not, be you.

UCI handles 28% more inquiries than the average on a Monday

Zero extra resource, every student responded to, everyone happy. 

Between 2-3 pm on a Monday UCI experiences around 852 conversations. How does a team flex to manage that kind of surge? Bryan Jue, Snr Admissions Director, Office of Undergraduate Admissions on leaning on innovative technology for help:

We really had to look to technology. There was so much manual process and we just couldn’t sustain that, not with our timelines. We’re getting competitive, we’re getting the amount of applications, but at the same time, we still want to make sure that we feel like we’re accessible. The way you do that now is not always just more staff in more places, it’s leveraging your staff in the right way and really leveraging technology to be able to deliver in a responsive way.

Innovate. Lean on tech. Get Monday sorted. 

We know many universities are experiencing funding cuts, shrinking recruitment budgets, and additional responsibilities that have made their jobs increasingly challenging. But solutions are out there to help with these challenges and we firmly believe that universities that embrace technology to help them innovate during this time will no doubt come out the other side stronger.

88% of colleges use chatbots, social media, or other digital communication tools to interact with students. 8% said that they were “very satisfied” with the way the college uses these tools to interact with potential applicants. 61% said that they were satisfied (Inside Higher Ed)

You can view our full Fireside Chat with UCI here.

Want to get your Monday sorted? Looking for a way to balance your institution’s mission with financial goals, while still doing right by your students? Get in touch with us!

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