Zooming into Spring Freshmen Recruitment

“Can everyone hear me?” “Nope, go ahead!” “You’re muted!” are just a few statements that have been uttered in the countless Zoom meetings we’ve all endured for almost a year.

It’s no secret the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone in higher education in different ways, but one similar way is the means of conversation through meetings and recruitment.

As much as most of us are probably “Zoom Pros” by now, I thought it would be good to refresh some good virtual meeting practices as we gear up for another season of recruitment behind the computer lens. This may be a good time to look back at what worked last semester and what needs to be improved when meeting with prospective and transfer students via zoom. Here is a list of Zoom tips a fellow Iowa ACAC admissions counselor and myself thought of.

  1. Be Prepared Beforehand: Test technology and always login at least a half an hour in advance, just in case. The worse thing is when you are excited to meet with a student and your internet decides to give out, or your microphone or headset sounds awful or stops working. Solidifying the little things makes the overall meeting go as planned.
  2. Staying Focused/Eliminating Distractions: Cover up the light on your webcam so you can make eye contact with the camera without having to stare at the bothersome light. It helps me to think that camera lens is the actual forehead of the student I’m talking to. This helps me concentrate on the conversation and allows for me to put notes on my computer that are eye level with the camera lens. The more the student sees your engagement to the meeting, the less they are to think you are staring out into the oblivion or doing something else on your computer.
  3. Waiting/Breakout rooms: Zoom bombing is real people. Enabling waiting and/or breakout rooms in your personal meeting room is a good tool to use to make sure the right people are entering the room and that multiple conversations can happen at once. It’s also good to have a roster of students available beforehand if they do decide to use their own accounts. If you meet with a group of students and a current college student, or a member of a different department is on the call with you, it never hurts to divide students up if they are interested in talking to a student one on one or have financial aid, housing or major specific questions. This way you can continue to give general information in the main room while others talking in the breakout rooms. Also, giving an option for others to enter without their video or audio on is important to ensure they are presentable before being seen.
  4. Utilizing chat: I’ve found it helpful for students to put your contact information or important URL’s in the chat after the meeting or even during. As much as emailing afterwards is a good practice, instantly sharing the link can drive the conversation further and new questions could arise
  5. Virtual Backgrounds: Have a proper background for Zoom meetings. Using a virtual background that represents school pride can always be a plus. However, be sure you have a white or solid background first so the image isn’t pixelated. Not a fan of virtual backgrounds, as it impacts speed of connection as well. Remember, overall this is a business call.

Last but not least…

  1. LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN: Zoom is a different animal. In this case, students have the power to turn off their video or even communicate via chat. This obviously makes it difficult to read mental cues on whether the student is confused or not. However, making sure all of their questions are answered and they get every word in is important. Make sure to have gaps between your questions to allow time for students to speak and not just dump information on students. It’s our job to listen and make sure they know this is their time.

Let’s be honest, it’s a difficult time for all of us. Nonetheless, rather than thinking of it as a setback, I look at these zoom filled times as an opportunity to discover ways on how we as admissions counselors react to adversity and develop new communication skills that better accommodate current prospective students. We’ll definitely look back and wonder how we overcame such a period of time, but most importantly we’ve gained a skill that make that much more marketable as a higher education professional.

Share this post:

Comments on "Zooming into Spring Freshmen Recruitment"

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment