My brother is two years younger than me and I remember him getting College junk in the mail for his last two years of high school. I probably got all that same junk too, I just tossed it out since I already knew where I wanted to go.
Postcards, booklets, letters and CD’s. The paper products I expect but the CD’s really brought me back to the days when AOL would send 10,000 free hours every month. Brightly colored, sometimes reflective and always had a unique way to open them.
As colleges find more and more creative ways to get information to students and entice them to pay big bucks for a four year piece of paper do they really think a CD is going to accomplish this?
My issues with CD’s are:
Offline – Having the content offline, disconnected from the rest of the updated world is a huge draw back, information gets out of date quick, that 3 day postage plus 1-2 weeks before the student decides to look at it 2-3 programs could have been added/dropped. Students are use to their connected world and why would they want to leave it?
Takes Effort – It takes time and effort to unwrap and put in a CD and load up the content on it. What is the benefit to the student?
Waste – Producing the CD could take weeks or even months of resources from an already stretched staff. CD’s cost money to produce, not to mention all the trash it creates in the process.
Respect the prospective student and the environment. Let your current students sell the school and use your programs and graduates as pillars to success. Crowd source their stories and thoughts about the school.
Sending content to students should done online if possible. Cost is almost nothing to produce and no shipping cost, only time is needed. Most of the content is usually found on essential sites anyways, admissions, transfer credit, registrar.
My prediction is that personalized online content is the way to go, find out as much about the student as possible, give them a personalized URL and tailor all the content to that student. Make them feel special, show them you care and they will be intrigued.
They will reward you ten fold. Either by coming to your great university or by telling you off. Telling you off being the most important, that is the only way you can get feedback, refine your approach and get more students.