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New recruitment materials help boost
admissions in competitive market
(April 26, 1999)

A new series of four-color recruitment publications stresses that UConn is a top choice for prospective students and is tangible evidence of the University's new integrated marketing communications strategy.

The brochures are a family of publications designed to showcase UConn as one university, both graphically and in terms of content. The brochures have a unity based on the use of color and style, tone and messages. They feature the schools and colleges, the regional campuses, the honors program, and include the viewbook sent to high school seniors, an admissions poster and a guide for parents.

"These materials are part of an integrated marketing communications strategy for the University that impacts every aspect of our communications activity," says John Barry, associate director of university communications. "The strategy influences everything we do, from our publications to the news stories we publicize, the advertising we do and the events we support."

The strategy is helping UConn achieve impressive results in a highly competitive market and is research-based, Barry says. The materials designed for the admissions program, for example, were written and designed to meet needs expressed by parents, high school seniors and college students in focus groups and telephone surveys.

"The research we have done is perhaps the single most important ingredient in our ability to design materials that are responsive to the market," says Barry. University Communications has formed partnerships with other University offices, such as Admissions, to maximize outreach efforts and ensure that a target audience is motivated to respond to the University in some way.

One of the early brochures that was part of the program was called the "Top Ten Reasons to Choose UConn." Sent to out-of-state students, for instance, it resulted in a large number of parents and students who wanted to attend a University open house, and was a factor in the admission of 36 percent more out-of-state freshmen this year. It, like the viewbook and other materials, contributed to the University's 17 percent increase in this year's freshman class, a class that included a significant eight point increase in SAT scores and a 27 percent increase in minority enrollment.

"Our partnership with University Communications has been an important component in our success," says Wayne Locust, director of admissions. "Admissions professionals understand much about strategic admissions. Communications professionals understand much about strategic communications. When the two bring their knowledge and experience to a shared experience, the results can be dramatic," he said. "We have produced a series of very high quality pieces, and we continue to have a strong positive effect on student recruitment."

The quality of the brochures reflects the combined leadership of Leonard Blanks, who headed the design activities, and Patti Fazio, who oversaw the narrative and production efforts, Barry says. They benefited from a team of communications professionals including writers, designers, photographers, editors, production staff, proofreaders and others, he adds.

"We are implementing this strategic marketing approach with the strong backing of President Austin, who recognizes that part of UConn's transformation into one of the best public universities in the nation is the transformation of public perception related to the academic quality of the institution," Barry says. "The benefit of a strong and unified University identity is that it transcends individual schools and colleges, regional campuses and other units and reflects positively on the entire University community."

Karen Grava