Summer is a bizarre time for admissions offices. While many members of the campus community are away and others are conducting or taking condensed summer courses, admissions offices are often at their busiest. Those that work with or run orientation have those programs throughout the season, and transfer and non degree applications at many schools remain busy up until the time classes start for the fall semester – but all of those efforts deal with students entering institutions in the upcoming fall.
The majority of our attention at this point is focused on future students. Most of us are deep in the midst of recruiting the Fall 2010 entering class, many are already communicating with prospective Fall 2011 students, and a few are even reaching out to those expected to enroll in 2012 or later. This leads to a slew of planning activities – designing and re-designing publications (paper and electronic), mailings (again, paper and electronic), deciding event dates and travel schedules for fall high school visits and college fairs, and of course buying names. In case you missed it, your name is for sale. For those of you who took the SAT or ACT (or early variations) and checked the little box (which said something like, “Check here to get really amazing information on scholarships and colleges,” but which should say, “Check here to flood your email with messages from colleges and universities.”), we can buy your name from the College Board or ACT. Some of you may have filled out one of the many surveys in schools or online, or signed up for something, or maybe your parents filled out a form about sixteen years ago when they were buying you diapers – in any of those cases, we can buy your name. I’m NOT suggesting that this is a bad thing. To the contrary, I think one of the best ways to find out about all the many many (many many) options available to you is to have your name in all those prospective student databases so you are more likely to hear from a wider variety of schools. All those names, however, create a lot of work for those of us trying to get your attention.
This creates a wonderful cottage industry in getting your attention. Realizing that colleges are unlikely to be able to afford advertising on “The Hills,” or probably even product placement on the show (although that would be SO worth it if I could get one of the cast members to go through the Mason recruitment and admissions process!), a number of companies try to offer vehicles that they claim will get your attention. I can advertise in dozens of magazines, newsletters, and websites where presumably you will go for college admissions information (by way of disclosure, Fastweb is one of those options – and the best one, since they clearly have the best information, but I may be a wee bit biased). As a result, I wade through hours of presentations trying to decide whether Facebook advertising is worth the money or whether placement at the top of a guide to using your school’s student information system would be a better use of our very few dollars.
Of course, there’s a ton of routine business to conduct as well, and many admissions offices have special projects in the summer (like our AMAZING Washington Journalism and Media Conference!). So while you’re lounging by the pool, my colleagues from across the country are very busy trying to figure out how to convince you to pick their school – isn’t it nice to know you’re on their mind? No? Kinda creepy? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Be seeing you.
Filed under: Education |