number 103 in line. When your turn comes, you’ll have 20,
maybe 30, seconds. Go ahead—tell the story of your institution.
Here’s a hint: The first 102 talked about their talented faculty,
small classes, personal attention and beautiful campus.
As the author of more than 100 higher education admissions publications,
including search pieces, viewbooks and web texts, I have a simple
mission: don't do the same old crap. And after judging
hundreds of admissions materials in many national awards programs,
I am, sadly, an expert on the same old crap. Here’s what so
many fail to do: Establish a voice for the piece that has an actual
living, breathing personality, a sense of itself and a sense of
humor. So many colleges and universities feel the need to put a
photo of some historic campus building on the cover, and then offer
up writing that reads as thrillingly as the electrical diagram for
that building. (Or, worse even, they try to be hip and cool.) Ain't
going to get inside a 17-year-old’s head that way. You know
they don’t want to hear the voice of the university, they
want to hear a voice that resonates in their life—a voice
that’s more about them, in the end, than about your school.
In concert with the great graphic designers and photographers who
make me look far better than I am, I have received 23 CASE Gold
and Grand Gold Awards, as well as the Grand Crystal. More importantly,
colleges and universities have seen response rates increase by as
much as 400 percent, and have recorded corresponding increases in
enrollment and student quality.
Here are a few random samples. Hear the voice: