Scariest recruitment ever?

A not too recent article details a recruitment campaign where a college put up ads all over town featuring the students the school was trying to recruit. I have mixed opinions. On the one hand, I wish I had an extra $200,000 to blow on student recruitment. On the other hand, if I had that much extra money maybe I’d rather spend it on financial aid. On the other hand, maybe students will be really complimented by seeing their name and information plastered all over town and I’m missing out on the next great thing. On the other hand, maybe this is really creepy stalking territory. For you juniors entering your senior year, especially if you have great grades and scores, expect to see a lot more of this as this has gotten a lot of play in the world of admissions, and once one has done it many of the rest will follow even if they don’t know for sure whether or not it worked. You can trust me that I have no intention of putting your names up on billboards just to try to get you to pick my school. At least not yet. Be seeing you.


8 Responses

  1. Hello. I have a quick admissions questions- My son will be a senior next year and would like to apply to GMU. Considering his senior year schedule, he’d like to get as much done over the summer as possible, such as drafting his essays. How early can he apply to GMU (for the 2009-2010 freshman class)?


  2. My vote goes to “really creepy stalking territory.” Plus I’d feel almost guilt-tripped into it. Once your entire town knows how badly this school wants you, wouldn’t you feel awkward telling everybody you chose some other place?

  3. Beth – check out my recent post on when to apply!

    pd – I agree. I assume they like the idea of guilt tripping you into a choice – or anything that will get you to pick them…seems a little desperate, but it occurs to me that I’m spending my Sunday updating the blog…hello, kettle? this is the pot…

  4. Why would you like $200,000 extra? Where would you spend it? 🙂

    Do you actually feel like you would be able to get more great applicants if you had more time/money/staff to market to students?

  5. great question! There’s no doubt in my mind that we’d increase our applicants with increased spending, especially at that level. I’m always conscious, however, that increased marketing costs are spending student and taxpayer dollars. If the return on investment is sufficient to outweigh spending that money on discounting student tuition, increasing faculty salary, etc, then there’s certainly a reasonable case to be made. If, however, a school that would have filled it’s class spends $200,000 to just get more applicants, what’s the goal (that may or may not be the case in the article – I’m just talking hypothetically)? Is it ethical for a school to spend your money to try to move up in the rankings game/appear more competitive?
    On still the other hand (I believe I’m up to three or four hands on this issue), there’s a lot of evidence in admissions that success results in success. As Mason has gotten more and more competitive, we’ve been more attractive to higher profile students and received even more applications…
    I think this comes down to the values of the institution, and careful assessment of what kind of returns students and taxpayers should expect from colleges and universities spending marketing dollars.

  6. Right. It’s obvious that more money spent equals more, and hopefully better qualified, applicants. Competition for applicants does exist.

    However, if your marketing efforts could always use improvement (i.e. more dollars), should students be trying to reach out to your office more if they desire admission? Would their attempts to reach your office save you guys marketing dollars?

  7. The best way to reach out is to apply 🙂

    I wouldn’t say that contacting us saves us money – I suppose if ENOUGH students decided, for instance, that this blog was SO COMPELLING and represented such an INCREDIBLE university that we received a massive increase in applications I would be able to pull back on a significant amount of marketing expense. Honestly, however, compared to our competition we spend such a pittance on marketing there wouldn’t be that much to cut. Did I mention that blogging is free? 🙂

  8. Ah. So it’s really an issue of number. One student doesn’t win that many points because you need so many applicants to develop a solid freshman class. Thanks for the info!

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