Behind the Lines: Short Stories of Mystery Shopping Admissions Reps

We often get to come up with great characters to play during mystery shops to admissions representatives. I have done some of the mystery shops myself. I’ve done them for a couple of different reasons. No, it’s not in my job description, but as the President of this company, it’s my responsibility to know how each product works and how each are performed. Yes, I have even used my handyman skills to fix a toilet at the office. In a small company, everyone has to do what it takes to get things done. I have some fun stories of things I have heard while performing mystery shops, and wanted to pass them along for your enjoyment.

Free Money!

I called into a school posing as a local employee of a Walgreens. The rep was very personable and helpful. Of course, we are trained to ask about employment post-graduation and the cost of attending the school in question. This is usually where it gets interesting. This particular gentleman asked again where I worked. I told him I worked at a local Walgreens that was close to the school. His response: “Oh, girl! You could probably go to school here free!” I was excited for my pretend alter ego. We had to immediately report this back to the school and that became his last day. I hope he’s back on his feet with lesson learned!

Let Me Call You Back…

Admissions reps usually know that all of their calls are recorded for quality and auditing purposes. When we pose as potential students, we also record the call on our end to report back to our school clients. On one occasion, an admissions rep was sure she pulled a fast one on the school. I was on the phone with a very nice and helpful person who was truly looking out for my best interests as a person. I told her I was a single mother and might be unable to get transportation to the school for classes. She asked if she could call me back from her cell phone. I obliged. Once we were back on the phone, via her personal cell, she informed me that with the grant money offered by the school, I could buy a new car and get to class every day. With the call recorded on our end, it was a rough day for this otherwise very sweet lady.

Do You Really Want To Go There?

Another way to get a call into an admissions rep is by online lead generation. We fill out forms, and wait for them to call us. It helps us determine the speed of the admission department, the quality of the lead generator and the behavior of call center based operations. I placed my lead information on what seemed to be the school’s landing page and waited. A few minutes passed and I received a call from a call center based rep. She went through the information I provided to make sure it was accurate and then asked what I was interested in. I had filled out a form for a particular school, but once we spoke about my interests, she pointed me to 3 others schools, none of which were the school I originally posed interest in. Yes, she was helpful to me as the person, but did she help me find the best school for me, or was she encouraged to find the school that would pay the highest lead amount? We will never know. school, however, was notified that potential students were interested in their school and being directed elsewhere.

I hope sharing some of these stories was helpful. We certainly learn something new with every call!

Questions? Contact me at

Jennifer Flood



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