How to steer conversations so that you can answer them

Advice for student ambassadors on how to steer conversations in order for you to be well placed to answer them.

Do you sometimes find that prospective students can ask you questions that you're not sure of the answer to? Topics such as applications, entry requirements or scholarships for example. 

There are always three lines of advice we give to student ambassadors when presented with a question like this:

  1. Can you send them a hyperlink to the relevant section of the institution's website? 
  2. You can add in a relevant staff ambassador or admin to help you.
  3. You can steer or shift the conversation so that you slightly 'spin' their question into one that you can answer.

Often we would recommend that you always do 1 or 2, in conjunction with number 3. In this article, we are going to focus on the third point - how to steer the conversation. In the table below, you'll see some examples of 'administrative' questions that you might be asked by a prospective student, followed by some advice on how you could shift that question to be something more aligned to your own knowledge and/or experience.

Question from prospective student How to shift that question
How do I apply? 

It's so exciting that you're looking to apply! You can find out more information on the website here: [insert link]. 
I'd be happy to talk you through my own experience as well. [Talk them through your own experience of applying, what made you apply, what you found helpful, if you had an agent working with you, what kind of things you included in your application etc.]. 


What are the entry requirements for this course? 

You can find the entry requirements for the course here: [insert link].

What makes you interested in this course? [Talk them through some of your own experiences of the course]. 

Is there anything else you would like to know about the course? 


What are the fees? or Can I get a scholarship? 

You can find out more about finance here: [insert link]. 

[If you yourself received a scholarship or financial aid, and you are comfortable with sharing that, it might be a nice idea to let them know how that has helped you].

I know the financial aspect of studying can sometimes be a concern. In my experience, [share how you manage your finances or budget for a week/month whilst studying. If you found some particularly useful information when doing your own research before studying, share that too]. 


How can I start studying here? 

Amazing! That's so nice to hear you'd like to study here. The application form can be found online here: [insert link].

What course are you looking to study and how come you've picked us? I'd be happy to share some of my own experiences too if you'd like?