Students who make a campus visit or take a campus tour are exponentially more likely to attend the school. Make their visit an unforgettably positive experience by giving them an “A-List” first impression!

1. Anticipation

This is the most difficult item on the list, so I put it at the top. To do it right, you must think like an outsider.

And that’s what makes it so difficult. You’re not an outsider.

But you must do your absolute best to anticipate the needs, questions, feelings, and considerations your guests will have when they arrive.

  • Will they know how to get around your campus when they arrive?
  • Is your signage visible and sufficient to guide them?
  • Will they have to pay for parking? Lunch? Lodging?
  • Where do they go for answers?

Also, it’s important to build anticipation within your guests via mails that remind them of their visit, welcome them into the experience, and tell them what to expect when they arrive.

2. Acknowledgment

Treat students on a campus tour like you would any honored guest.

It’s easy to forget, but without students, there’s no school! They make you what you are.

So use gift packages, perks, backstage tours, one-on-one meetings with VIP faculty and staff to let them know that you truly want to see them there.

And follow up with them afterwards, thanking them for giving you a chance to show off your campus.

Don’t forget the parents, either! Consider a gift or package for the parents who come. If you can get their contact info, be sure to send them a thank you note as well. Recognize them for the role they’re going to play in the student’s college decision.

3. Attention

Jump to attention and keep the schedule moving. Have activities, meetings, and experiences lined up so there’s little to no “dead time” in between.

Make the students’ time productive and attentive so they feel they’ve made the most of their visit.

4. Attractive

The saying is true: “You only get one chance to make a first impression.”

During a campus tour, the cleanliness of your bathrooms, brightness of the decor, the condition of your lawns and gardens, and the look of your auditoriums, dorms, and halls are part of the marketing message. Make sure it’s a positive one.

Make the welcome center the campus gem. Students should feel like you put your absolute best foot forward when they arrive on campus.

5. Answers

Build the visit day and tour around providing answers to the questions you know that will be asked. This goes hand in hand with anticipating the needs of your visitors.

Each year, have your campus tour guides fill out notes concerning the questions that were asked by students during the tour.

And use surveys to see what questions were still left unanswered so you can follow up later.

6. Action

Speaking of following up, take action and follow up with students!

Use a mixture of automated marketing and personal calls to follow up with students. I can’t emphasize this step enough—success is in the follow-through.

7. Aptitude

Train your staff well for upcoming campus visits so they have aptitude when greeting students or answering questions.

Write scripts and rehearse them with your staff, faculty, and volunteers—even if they’re not a direct part of the event. If the event is a success, they will be encountering potential students and will need to able to make a great first impression.

Get your campus tour on to the “A-List.”

Get out of the B-List and onto the A-List. Chances are you’re just a few adjustments away to making your campus visit events unforgettable, helpful experiences.

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