Colleges and Universities want YOU – part two


Time for even more TRENDY MARKETING EFFORTS FROM COLLEGES AND UNIVERISTIES FOR 2010-2011 (that probably won’t work).

VIDEOS Part I– Mason and three other schools led the way by introducing videos into the application process. Look for a bunch of other schools to follow and then lengthy, silly debates about whether this changes the whole admission process (it doesn’t).

VIDEOS Part II – Colleges and universities try to make their own versions of High School Musical as a way of getting you to notice them. Yes, Yale managed to create one that got some media attention, but that was YALE. Will “Ineverheardof” University be able to go viral with their similarly lame efforts? “Glee,” I think, has nothing to fear.

THIRD PARTY SERVICES – With match.com and others taking over the dating world, it’s no surprise that savvy companies would find a way to do something similar for the often even more stressful process of finding the right school. Some of these programs are just silly, but others may catch on as the new way to search schools. Personally, I like MyCollegeOptions’ service the best, but hey – they publish my posts so I’m entirely partial.

BLOGS – The success of a few blogs (not this one) leads many admissions officers to believe that if only they create their own, suddenly their schools will catapult to the top of the rankings. You’ll see blogs continue to proliferate – mostly admissions officers whining two or three times a year about how many applications they receive and bragging ineffectively about how perfect their schools are. Warning – these tend to be sickly sweet and should be avoided by anyone with a strong gag reflex.

Sad to say, all of the cool, flashy technology in the world won’t make much a difference. Mason is not successful because I blog, include videos in our application process, or tweet. Mason succeeds because:
1) SHAMELESS PLUG: Mason is a great school – great location just outside D.C., incredible faculty, gorgeous buildings and campus, and intensely globally diverse – and if those are things you want, you’ll like it.
2) We tell our story. Sharing the information above through e-mail, travel to your schools, postal mailings, and websites. At the core, the most important part of this process is having a chance to check out the information about schools to see which may fit you best.

This answer, however, is boring. Most schools still hope that they can get around giving you GOOD information by giving you information in some new, creative, and “cutting-edge” way.

So prepare yourselves for brochures, college fairs, phone calls, postcards, and text messages along with new blogs, apps, friend requests, and videos with virtually no entertainment value whatsoever. Maybe I’m wrong about what you want to see, in which case I’d love to hear from you. In any case, my advice is to ignore all the propaganda and gimmicks and just try to find some great schools – there are plenty out there, whether they tweet or not.

Be seeing you.

P.S. – A special Mason prize to the person who posts the most outrageous technological marketing effort a college or university makes this year…as judged solely by me. As George Carlin used to say, “They’re my rules – I make them up.”

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