Marketing excitment and enrollment confusion

I was a few miles south of campus last week meeting with Deans, directors, and vice presidents of admissions of Virginia public colleges. The group assembles a few times each year to compare notes, work on projects of mutual interest, and share our woes. Most of what we shared last week was confusion. On one hand, there’s a series of studies out that say far more students than ever before have deposited at multiple institutions. On the other hand, many schools continue to go deeply to their waitlists, and we hear rumors of some of the wealthier schools that still need students stalking their admits with increased financial aid offers (I’d call that poaching, but I suspect the students that get the money have few complaints).

A few days later, I flew out to San Francisco to speak at the Ypulse conference. Ypulse gathers together a slew of people that try to market to teens and tweens. I spoke a bit on a handful of Mason’s recent successes, this blog among them, at attracting students. This was slightly surreal for me…most of the time I’m the marketing (a.k.a. source of all evil) guy in an organization of academics, but at Ypulse, I’m the academic guy in a massive group of marketing gurus. Interesting to hear that MTV, Disney, and other big brand name organizations get every bit as frustrated trying to get students to do things as I do. On the other hand, a number of the presentations confirmed what I’ve suspected – it’s more about the personal contacts and connections that we make than any marketing gimmick.

I met with several fascinating bloggers – when I have a spare second to check out their work I’ll post some links and comments. Shameless Plug – I also heard from the amazing Don Tapscott and am greatly looking forward to his new book, Grown Up Digital. Although I haven’t read it yet, I think you should buy it, mostly because I’ve been a huge admirer since reading his earlier book and got to hang out with him – the guy saw an open piano in the lobby of the hotel and kept a group of us singing into the wee hours. That’s my kind of author!! All right – back to more admissions information. Be seeing you.


One Response

  1. As you compared notes with contemporaries, I’m curious as to what trends they are experiencing with regard to the affect of the economy on out-of-state applicants? Are out-of-state applications and yields down by as much as I am hearing?

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