Bob Johnson's Blog on Higher Education Marketing

October 2015 Archives

Greetings in October to everyone reading this.

Here in the U.S. the fall recruitment season for 2016 high school students is in full swing as the admissions profession debates how to improve access for lower income students while still meeting pressures for adequate revenue from tuition and high graduation rates. 

The 2015 NACAC meeting ended last week and the admissions world is engaged in a vigorous debate over the value of a plan for a new "Coalition" admissions application system that will launch in January. Down below you will find a link to a detailed review of the plan as well as to a 2015 survey on the challenges facing the admissions directors today. 

Admissions debates aside, university websites are still the most important element for successful student recruitment, more so than printed publications, social media and, for many students, live people. See why that is true at "4 Top Marketing Lessons for Student Recruitment" at 
Conference Event in November

The AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education in November is almost here. Early registration discount is open until October 19. Add my Digital Marketing Strategy tutorial Sunday afternoon when you register at 

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And now here are your October marketing news and notes.
Cartoon of the Month: Lifecycle of Your Brand

Are you planning to invest in a "rebranding" campaign? Circulate this cartoon at your first planning meeting for realistic expectations of what you might achieve. Visit 
Rate My Professor: 25 Highest Rated Universities and Community Colleges

Someday in my website prowling I will discover a school that includes a top ranking from Rate My Professor among the usual list of rankings achieved. 

Rate My Professor is now showing the Top 25 universities and Top 25 community colleges with high faculty ratings. The university leader is University of Mississippi. The top community college is Santa Barbara City College.

See if your school is listed when you visit 
New Elite Coalition Application: An Admissions Debate

The just-ended NACAC meeting included a packed session to hear three representatives of the 83 elite colleges and universities that in January 2016 launch a new admissions application procedure talk about why they are taking this step. The group has named itself the Coalition for Affordability, Access, and Success. 

The Coalition website at includes a list of the current members.

Based on tweets and feedback from on person who was present, the plan was not well received. If you are not yet up-to-date with the various points of contention, the best place to start is a detailed report from Inside Higher Ed at 
Admissions Director Survey: Honesty, Professional Challenges, and More

The 2015 survey of admissions directors by Inside Higher Ed is out with a plethora of interesting information about the challenges facing the profession today.

My most interesting point: No respondent said they reported false admissions data but 92 percent said that other admissions directors do that. 

Second most interesting: At a time when merit scholarships are in question vs. need-based aid, a large majority of both private and public sector directors are in favor of merit aid. Not surprising given enrollment and profile pressures. Merit aid is not disappearing anytime soon.

Download the 41-page report at 
Content Marketing Infographic: 75 "Essential" Stats

Overcome your possible reluctance that there might indeed by 75 "essential" stats and review what is offered at this easy-to-scroll list. Yes, almost everybody is doing content marketing at an incredible and an increasing volume. But you might be surprised to see which social media site is most popular for distribution, the unsolved challenges, and what marketers think are the most important ROI measures.

Pay special attention to "Content Marketing from the Audience Perspective" when you 
Gerry McGovern on Content Marketing: Do Marketers Get It Right?

As always you can count on Gerry to cast a skeptical eye on the communications that marketers create. There is, Gerry believes, "far too much of ego, vanity content that is high on hyperbole and low on information."

Run a hyperbole check on your content marketing efforts after you read "Is content marketing just the same old marketing?" at 
College Scorecard: Great New Competitive Resource

If you have not yet visited the new College Scorecard to compare your results on key college selection points with those of your competitors plan to do that soon.

We can expect to see increased use of this data by potential students of every age. Early reports for high school students: people are impressed by how easy it is to use. Average Annual Cost, Graduation Rate, and Salary After Attending are the highlighted results for individual school searches.

Start with a check on results for your college or university at 
On the Light Side: 24 Creative Vintage Ads

Our friends at Guerilla Marketing bring us a marvelous collection of 24 creative ads from the olden days at 
Social Media Marketing: Use and Demographics at Top Sites

Where should you best spend your resources in social media? The folks at Pew Internet can help with their detailed review of the usage and demographics for Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Facebook use has leveled off the past three years but is still far higher than other social sites among all age groups. Pinterest remains most popular among women. Start your visit 
Reality Writing: Tuition Resets vs. Tuition Reductions, Slashes, and Cuts

In some parts of the world, including Utica College, schools do not have tuition cuts or slash or reduce tuition to gain a better competitive position, they have a tuition reset. In a world that favors reality marketing and transparency in general, that seems an overly PR sensitive word to use.

Whatever the word used to describe the action, see the description of a "bold new affordability initiative" reducing tuition by 42 percent at the Utica College FAQ page at 
Recruiting International Students: The U.S. High Cost Penalty

More than a few schools in the U.S. regard international students as the equivalent of a tuition-increasing golden goose. A new Eduventures survey of students admitted to U.S. universities for 2015 suggests that the golden eggs might not flow as freely in the future.

Among the 47 percent of U.S. admits who decided not to enroll, 65 percent said the top reason was an inability to afford the cost. Of those that did not enroll in the U.S. 21 percent stayed in their home country and 13 percent enrolled in another country.

More information from the research is at 
International Student Satisfaction: Rating 18 European Countries

Based on 17,000 reviews by international students, Study Portals has released the 3rd annual ranking of 18 European countries for the satisfaction level of their international students. This year Ireland was in first place and France was last.

Individual universities within each country are included in the report. Maynooth University was tops in Ireland. See how the other 16 countries were listed and check for your favorite schools at 
Net Price Calculator: Making it Easy to Find

Why do high school students and their parents not use net price calculators more often? One possible reason is that on many higher education websites they simply are not easy to find.

Not long ago I found only my third example of a school that joins University of Delaware and Lynn University and places a visible link to the NPC on the home page: Bellarmine University.

Bellarmine is the most visible of the three: in the center of the page in large type 
Most Popular Topic in September Newsletter: Marketing to Younger Generations

The perils of "Marketing to Younger Generations" in the Cartoon of the Month won visitation honors. Laugh at 
Be a marketing champion on your campus.

Bob Johnson, Ph.D. 
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC

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