Why Building Schedules Around Students is Good Planning
Rarely is a week so neat and tidy, with scheduled time being all that you accomplish. Most weeks are filled with time that takes us away from intended projects. Our work often gets in the way of our schedules, although we often see it as the other way around.
While schedules help us to keep on track, they do not allow for the moments that often are the most meaningful to the prospective student. Schedules are typically set up to be meaningful to us – our administrative processes, and our institutional agendas. What if we flipped our thinking? What if we made schedules around what would benefit our prospective students the most? How would that change our daily and weekly schedules?
To begin with, we would give more weight to outreach and one-on-one recruiting. It would be a higher priority for sure, as it is most beneficial to the relationships we are building with students. It also means providing better customer service – listen to students to understand what they really want and why, provide the value added, make each student recognize that they are not just another enrollment, but a valuable part of the community.
Here are some examples:
- instead of seeing a call from a prospective student as an interruption, see it as a chance to connect with a prospect in a way that is meaningful to them
- when you want to extend the conversation with a prospect, but have someone else scheduled, ask a student to walk and talk with them to the next appointment
- when running out to a meeting, instead of asking the student to call back, ask the student when is the best time for you to call them back
- use the few minutes between appointments and scheduled events wisely to return a call, send an email, review a file, etc.
- when on the road, use time before, after, and between appointments and events wisely to return a call, send an email, connect with colleagues
- use time in the early mornings to complete the tasks of the day like data entry and file review – tasks that if done later in the day will interfere with connecting with prospects
These examples are all about making good use of your time in ways that benefit the prospective student. They are efficient, flexible, and allow you to prioritize your day around time best spent developing relationships with students.
This is not to say that there aren’t days when you need more than eight hours or weeks when you need more than 40. For many in this profession, that is a given. For others, it is against university policy to put in overtime hours. Whatever schedule you are given, prioritize your time around what is best for the prospect, and building relationships. You will find you accomplish more in less time, and will be more successful in attaining your enrollment goals.