APEX Foundation

Common mistakes

If you are only helping your friends, these things don’t matter. But if you’ve decided to become the local guru, make sure to avoid these pitfalls.

1. YOU DON’T COLLECT CONTACT INFO

This is the number one biggest mistake. If you do not collect contacts, you can as well not do this at all. You are WASTING YOUR TIME! See point 2. Best way to collect contacts is to have a sign-up sheet. As people come, tell them “Sign up there please”. Ask a friend to be at the meeting with you and handle the sign up.

2. YOU DON’T KEEP IN TOUCH

Keep in touch with people. They’ll forget you in a few days if you don’t keep in touch. If you did a meeting, write them the same evening and thank them for coming. And offer them to meet again, to show pictures from your travels, to help them start their applications. Invite them to come to your next meeting too. Send them occasional email, perhaps links to our blog updates. Become a leader of the group. All this is impossible without having their contacts, see point 1.

3. YOU DON’T GIVE EVERYBODY YOUR CONTACT

If you don’t, they will wonder why. After all you will be asking for theirs. If they have your contact, they may also share it with their other friends who might be interested. Be friendly. Tell them “look, if you need anything, or if you have any questions, here’s my email, I’ll be happy to help you”. Some cooperators make themselves another email account to give out to students. That’s a great idea! Just make sure that you actually check that email ;-)

4. YOU DON’T TELL PEOPLE WHAT TO DO

You finish the meeting, say good bye, and that’s it. People will think: “Hmm, that was an interesting lecture” and forget about you in 2 hours. But you actually want them to do something, don’t you? So tell them! Otherwise they don’t know: “If you want to apply, let’s go find a computer and we can do it right now. If you have questions, write me, we can meet tomorrow at the school. Also, I will be available next Wednesday to do the applications, so come, time flies!” Tell them what you want them to do, you will be surprised how well it works.

5. YOU DON’T LOOK LIKE A COOPERATOR

Wear the APEX t-shirt when you go to meet with students. It shows there is an organization behind you. It shows that you are a part of something. See this CNN video, at 1 minute and 20 seconds, the reporter says: “I see from your T-shirt that you are with ASIS”. Exactly…

6. YOUR POSTERS ARE NOT VISIBLE EVERYWHERE, ALL THE TIME

So you put up the posters 3 days before the meeting, did a 2 hours meeting, and that’s it. Think about it: out of 10 months of school, you reminded people of yourself for three days! And you are disappointed with the results?! Most people didn’t even notice your posters! Others were interested, but didn’t have time at the moment. Still others weren’t interested, but maybe they’ll become interested 4 months later. How will they find you?

7. YOU DON’T WORK WITH OTHERS

There’s always somebody who likes what you do. It can be your school’s language department, your school’s international department, somebody from the club at your dorm, friendly admin of your schools network, a guy from the student’s radio station, etc. All these people can help you by telling others, keeping your posters at the place (see point 6.), having your contact available, and by telling you about events where you could talk. In fact, some of them might be quite happy to have you in order to have program, for instance the dorm radio station, or the student’s club.

8. YOU DON’T BRING HELP

Other former participants are the best. But it helps even your friends who are only just applying come to your meeting and say why they are applying through you. Partly, if you are a bit shy, you won’t feel like naked being alone in front of the people. And…you know students, nobody wants to be the first. If they see that somebody is already applying with your help, they will be much less reluctant to come raise their hands, and ask what to do. See also point 4.

Questions? Ask below :-) In English, please.

APEX Foundation