University marketing ploys focus off education benefits

By Kimberly Marion

Just imagine a cheesy advertiser’s voice saying, “Would you like to get away and enjoy a nice free ski and snowboard weekend? All expenses paid. All you have to do is…apply to Saint Vincent College, in Latrobe, Pennsylvania?”


This and many other things are the marketing ploys universities are using to entice potential students.

Now think about why you chose to attend NIU. Most responses range from the cost of attending to the distance from home. None of your answers are that you went on a ski weekend and made your choice to attend this lovely university.

The University of Nebraska is letting Tommy Lee, of Motley Crue, film his reality show “Tommy Lee Goes to College” on campus to boost interest in the university, according to

My question is, do university officials want people to be interested in their school because of some washed-up rock star? A university’s goal is to have a good academic reputation. How can a university stay credible with publicity stunts like that?

Doane College in Nebraska sent out postcards picturing a male student surrounded by women. Under the photo, a caption said “Play the field!” And no, the postcard was not talking about football. Who knew that sex could sell for a university? I thought having great academic programs and reasonable costs were important to students, but Doane College has proven me wrong.

The problem with using such marketing devices is there can be a big let down when you realize the school may not offer all the things you desire and would not be beneficial to your education and health.

You have to be skeptical and wonder why colleges would use things such as sex and rock stars to persuade potential students to come to their schools.

The article on said most schools using such marketing ploys were either seeing a drop in admissions or wanted to attract more students because they are small institutions.

Instead of finding out why students choose other colleges, many universities are wasting money on pitches that will not necessarily attract students.

Believe it or not, most students go to college to receive an education at a reasonable price, if that is even possible.

The money that these colleges spend on ridiculous marketing tactics could be used to enhance their educational programs.

Many students are willing to go to schools primarily because of academic programs. If a student chooses a school because Tommy Lee did his reality television show there, then that is not the type of student a university should want.

When a university is good, no marketing ploy is needed.

Columns reflect the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the Northern Star staff.