Dartmouth Associates

How Persona Planning Enhances and Accelerates Matriculation?

Does your staff really know who they are talking to and why they are talking to them: How Persona Planning Enhances and Accelerates Matriculation?

 After you have just completed making an appointment for the following week…what kind of thinking have you done in preparation to speaking to them. Of course, you know the basics, like where the family is from, student gender, grade level, etc.  But, have you really thought about specific questions as well as to what outcomes you hope to achieve by the time the family leaves.  How well you understand your audience, whether it be for an interview, email, text or phone call, may determine whether this family continues with the admission process.

First consider the many different types of personas that you will encounter…Single father, single mother, 6th grade, adopted girl, or 11th grade male athlete. Now, based on your knowledge you create a fictitious person to be a general representation of the person you will be communicating with. Once you do this, you have some structured direction.

  1. What types of questions you to could ask
  2. Questions they may ask you
  3. Topics you may want to highlight
  4. How you might foreshadow their journey to matriculation
  5. What your final objective will be of this current conversation.

Here is an illustration of your mental or written check list of preparation:

Persona Profile

Executive VP, Single working mother of a 9th grade, only child girl- inquiry

  1. Demographic
    1. Age 38-50
    2. Black
    3. $250K-$ 300K
    4. Lives in a city
  2. job role / description
    1. Manages 100 or more people
    2. Works 45-60 hours a week
    3. High stress environment
    4. Belongs to many professional organization
    5. Social Media: Is active on linked in
  3. Shopping habits
    1. Usually shops on-line
  4. Social life
    1. Belongs to a club but rarely uses membership
  5. Why is she considering your school
    1. Wants her daughter to have more friend
    2. Wants her to have more structure
    3. Wants her to have more mentors
  6. Other people who may influence her.
    1. Grandparents who are helping pay the tuition
    2. Her ex-husband
    3. Her friend whose son attends your schools
    4. Reviews on social media

Questions you might ask her or opening statement:

  1. You must be very busy, thank you for taking the time from your schedule.
  2. When you are at work what does your daughter do in the afternoon?
  3. What does she enjoying doing with her friends?
  4. Do you wish she had a wider variety of friends?
  5. To what extent is her father involved in her life?

Questions she might ask you:

  1. How do you help new student get to know returning students
  2. Do I make too much money to qualify for financial aid
  3. Do you have any scholarships?
  4. My daughter is very sweet and well behaved…I read on the internet that you had some discipline problems lately…what is going on?
  5. How will you keep me regularly informed on her progress?
  6. What are your policies and program with respect to gender equality and racial inclusion?
  7. Has your board developed a strategic plan and what are your critical KPIs (Key Performance Indicators…corporate speak for objectives)

 Foreshadowing their matriculation:

  1. I know it will be exciting for you when your daughter introduces you to her many new friends.
  2. Her peers are very motivated to do well and pursue good colleges…it will be a thrilling process for you to witness for your daughter:
  3. Our application process is very clear, and I personally, will make sure that I answer all your questions at any time.
  4. I will follow up with you by the end of the week to help you with the application…is during the day or evening better?

The outcomes you want to achieve after the interview

  1. A commitment from them to complete a preliminary application in the next three days.
  2. Secure a student to call her daughter in the next 24 hours
  3. Have a current parent contact her in the next 24 hours
  4. Get her a financial aid application in the next 24 hours
  5. Give her a personal phone call in the next 24 hours
  6. Send her a hand-written note that day

The above process is just a snapshot of how you must prepare for every contact. Ultimately, where they enroll can many times be attributed not only to you empathetically connecting with a family, but also the efficiency of your admissions process. The reality is that most families don’t do intense research to narrow it down to just one special school. Very often they enroll in schools who present themselves as caring communities that will help their child flourish and offer a concise and organized process that is easy to understand and execute.

Every contact you make is critical. If you don’t plan for who you are speaking with and what you want they to commit to accomplishing…They will enroll in the school that does!

Tom Schenck

Founder and CEO, Dartmouth Associates

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