Monday, November 14, 2011
I spent two days last week visiting colleges with my daughter. It was an exercise in how not to do PR. College tours are all the same. During the information session, an admissions director provides a few words to warm up the parents and teenagers. Students take center stage to tell of their experiences at the institution. The admissions director returns at the end to talk about test scores and admission criteria. Then, a peppy young thing takes parents and aspiring high school juniors on a walking tour of the campus. They point out buildings, the cafeteria, the student union, the library and in a rare case, a college tradition such as a painted cannon, a gateway, a plaque on a sidewalk that is not to be stepped on. Then, it is over and on to the next university where the same lethargy repeats. The conclusion one reaches quickly is that most colleges and universities have little differentiation other than their sports teams. That's not much of a commentary on education. There is need for creativity in communications that is sadly lacking. Parents and students should expect and get a better understanding of what they are getting for their investment.