As you might know, our Director of Education Services, Doodie Meyer, works with 20 or more students a year as an independent college admissions counselor.  We asked one of her clients, a seasoned marketer, who just went through the college admissions process with his daughter, if he could give us his perspective on the experience. Wow! He’s a champion! Having visited 20 campuses, here’s Barry Curewitz’s 6 Dos and Don’ts When Marketing Your College or University:

1. Market to parents as well as students. When marketing your school, remember that each prospect represents two constituencies: the students and the parents.  Each group has their own set of concerns and issues.  Talk to each, and address what’s important to them.

2. Know the Number One Thing. What’s the one thing you want prospects to remember about your school?  With the typical student visiting dozens of websites, reading multiple catalogs and visiting tons of schools, you must know what you want your school to be known for – and then communicate it in a way that will be remembered.  When my daughter finished visiting 20 schools she positively remembered the schools that knew what made them special.

3. Be organized. Imagine how you might react after arranging to attend a school tour and interview, confirming the appointment one week before arriving on campus, and upon checking in with Admissions, they say they have no knowledge of your existence.  We traveled five hours to visit such a school, along with two others in the area. While we stayed for a later tour, this put a sour note on things and in the end, my daughter did not submit an application. Review your processes on a regular basis, do a walk-through as though you are the prospect, and challenge your recruitment team to make continual improvements to the visitor’s experience.

4. Prepare your speakers. Work with your speakers so that they represent you well, and reflect the quality of your institution.  Nobody is impressed by a speech littered with ums and ahs.

5. Make time for Q & A. Almost all the orientations we sat through were rushed, had too many people on the tour, and left very little time for Q&A.  As a consequence, we felt like many of our questions remained unanswered. Q&A is an important part of the process. If you are running out of time, offer opportunities for people to talk to you after the orientation.

6. Help your families navigate the financial aid process. Educate your families on your approach to constructing a financial aid package before you sit down with them.  Understanding the process is so helpful to students and parents as they try to work out how to turn a dream into a reality!

Barry Curewitz is a proud parent of a graduating high school senior who recently decided where she’ll be attending school next year.  Barry provides a unique perspective in that he has spent the last 20 years growing businesses for some of the world’s largest companies – by nearly $500MM in aggregate.


Photo courtesy of Juan Ramos on