Self Marketing "101"
In May 2017, the world's most influential marketing gurus met to discuss the rapidly changing online marketing environment at an event called #ThinkContent2017. In the same way that business marketing is constantly changing, so is that of college admissions. Today, college recruitment happens primarily online, pushing content and marketing to prospective students using Facebook, Instagram and even Snapchat. Colleges have become more savvy with ways to spread news and information about their schools to prospective students.
Gain an advantage by playing their game. Develop a strong self-marketing plan to let them know more about you and how much you are interested in their programs!
TIP ONE: Demonstrate interest, early and often!
Demonstrated interest is a critical component of your admissions portfolio. Step one is creating a profile online and signing up for the mailing list. Next, participate in admissions seminars at school or in your hometown. Always fill out the comment cards, even if you may have already signed up. In addition, plan to visit campus, take the official tour, and definitely don't forget to sign in! Colleges also expect that you engage them online. As a matter of fact, they consider it a major form of demonstrated interest! Friend them on Facebook and follow them on Instagram. Interact with their posts. Ask lots and lots of questions! The fact is that colleges keep track of each and every interaction you have with them, and these interactions then become part of your admissions portfolio. Schools that have never heard of you are very unlikely to offer you a spot, even if your academic credentials match up.
TIP TWO: Make a web resume and clean up your online presence
The old-school paper resume is dead. Create a website that highlights your academic, athletic, volunteer and work accomplishments. Add pictures and other files as well. Plan on studying creative writing? Post excerpts or samples of your work! Are you an athlete? Then publish game video and other information about your accomplishments. In addition, Google your name to see what can be found about you on the internet. Scrub your online presence by removing or editing any silly or embarrassing photos and posts. After cleaning up your social media profiles, up the security settings to keep your stuff private. Most importantly: keep your entire online presence clean from this day forward! If you don't want colleges finding out about it, don't put it out there for everyone to see!
TIP THREE: Always write the optional essays
Never pass up on the opportunity to continue to tell your story. Consider every opportunity to write an additional essay as a gift from the college or university. Make sure to be just as thoughtful in your responses as for the required formal essays (i.e. Common App essay) In addition, do yourself a favor and ensure that you actually answer the question! Essays that are vague or only tangentially related to the topic are prone to skimming.
TIP FOUR: Seek out opportunities to meet with college admissions reps
Fact: College admissions representatives are the gatekeepers of the admission process. Is a rep from your dream college coming to your school? Don't pass up meeting them! Is your favorite college offering an offsite seminar in your hometown? Sign up ahead of time and plan on attending! Never pass up an opportunity to say hi, introduce yourself, and ask questions. In addition, ensure that you get ahold of their contact information so that you can follow up afterwards via email. Who knows, the 25 year old college rep that visited your school last week may be the first person to read your essays and/or evaluate your application. Will they be giving you a thumbs up, or thumbs down? Keep this in mind as these opportunities present themselves.
A solid self-marketing strategy should be part of every prospective college student's game plan.
Karl Lenss is the managing director of Academic Angle. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to make your application the best it can be? We can help! the Academic Angle team has years of knowledge and experience that will help to make sure that you are making the best impression possible. Take a giant step closer to realizing your college admission dreams by contacting us today!