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The Increasing Hype and Spin of Private College Marketing

  • Public
By BCR Admin 2004 days ago

Avoiding the Hype & Spin of Private College Marketing

An important factor in choosing a college is the need to avoid the hype that many private colleges lay out to entrap gullible students and parents. It is fairly easy to expose the hype with some due diligence, and particularly now with the help of the Internet, conducting due diligence is a lot easier.

It is axiomatic that with State supported public colleges there will be less hype, and what you see and hear is more likely what you will get. However large private institutions particularly those in large cities who hype their size and location, and whose years of prominence and track record are fairly new, should be suspect. Realize that a good track record, and in particular the better private institution track records and alumni connections go years back. This is so because most good private institutions have been around as trend setters with a century or more head start on most public colleges. Most State colleges are generally comparatively younger institutions established due to mandated public education necessities, long after the establishment of the better quality private institutions.

Unlike State supported colleges which have a State's powerful interests and purse behind them, private colleges have nothing but their endowments, tuition, sports, and their private boards of trustees to depend on, a very tricky situation in modern, expensive and highly competitive markets. Small per capita endowments, rising costs, hype & spin, combined with a short track record, particularly in large institutions, may be something to watch for and to avoid in a private college. Small private colleges also should be carefully scrutinized, but they are more likely to have a true sense and purpose of compassionate educational ideals and practices which could be important for a student needing a small, caring, and nurturing environment. The collegiality of a college education is also one of the most important factors in choosing and attending any college.

Public institutions are generally run under strict State implemented standards with State agency overview and oversight. Students and parents should not immediately believe the hype that private colleges are better just because they are private. Private colleges and particularly the newer ones must constantly market themselves in order to fill their expensive seats with acceptable students. There have been a significant number of unethical actions by some private institutions in this regard. Unless a private college has almost a century of solid operations with a strong and dedicated alumni network, and an endowment that is appropriate for its size and operations, due diligence requires looking behind the hype and spin. In any event, there are so many good, solid, reputable, no hype, no spin, private colleges with years of solid operations, there should be no reason to fall into the trap of the hypesters and spinners.

Students and parents should not fall prey to fancy buildings, and big name part-time instructors hired and showcased primarily to provide the look and feel of true faculty excellence. When in doubt go with common sense comparisons. A critical analysis and comparison of at least half a dozen schools should be conducted before making a final choice, particularly considering the prohibitive cost of most of the typical hypester institutions. Today, some private non-profit colleges in their reincarnations, are practically indistinguishable from their for-profit counterparts in their operations, look and feel.

Remember, College education is now big business and big business may be antithetical to good education, particularly when there are so many better choices with solid track records which do not exude and embrace the big business corporate model.