Marketing a University

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Inside Higher Ed has a super interesting, in-depth article discussing Penn State's aggressive marketing campaign which tries to remake the school's image as "chic." They did a large spread in a fashion/style magazine; they cut a deal with MTV on a TV show, and they've been advertising on television.

The comments ont he article are very bipolar; some folks (including alumni) think this is great, whicle others bemoan the superficiality of the marketing campaign. It's certainly producing results, though, as Penn State's applications are up this year.

Competition for students has become quite intense among the top-tier universities, and I wonder if all of the schools will feel the need to follow suit in this style-savvy and media-savvy environment today.

But where do you draw the line? What is appropriate for marketing a university?



The Discussion

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    Rob Miles

    I work at a british university, but the competition issue is alive and well here too, particularly in subjects like Computer Science, where interest seems to be declining at the moment.

    I must admit that I'm quite happy for other places to market themselves in this way. Whilst they are trying to make their campus look like a Gap advert we can get on with selling our courses at Hull on the value that we add to the students who come here.

    This works well for two reasons. Firstly it does the job. People come to Hull because of what we do, not just because we are at Hull (although Hull is a nice place). Secondly we get the students who want achieve. And not the ones that are motivated by fashion and trends.

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