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What do schools get out of all this?

davidthefatdavidthefat Registered User Posts: 1,521 Senior Member
edited September 2011 in Parents Forum
As I am staring at the hundreds of college mails, flyers, viewbooks and emails I've received from colleges all over the nation, I ask this one simple question: "what's in it for the school?". Why do schools try to attract so many student? Yes, I am aware of the ranking system and ect, but still, what's in it for them? Sure, you may be a highly ranked school, but what's in it for the school? I don't understand. They are not companies; they are non profit or government organizations. What's in it trying to attract the "brightest and smartest" students? Most of the research is produced by PhDs and Grad students, undergrad does not do it.

I think the noblest thing for a school is to get those sub par and average students then producing the best out of them. I think that mentality will truly change society.
Post edited by davidthefat on

Replies to: What do schools get out of all this?

  • LasMaLasMa Registered User Posts: 10,883 Senior Member
    Never underestimate the power of bragging rights, especially at the elite level of any industry.
  • MisterKMisterK Registered User Posts: 1,552 Senior Member
    They are not companies; they are non profit or government organizations.

    That's where the money is nowadays - nonprofit and government. You'd be amazed at the profit potential in nonprofit ...
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 71,095 Senior Member
    They are not companies; they are non profit or government organizations.

    Non-profit companies still have to avoid making losses over the long term; it is just that they are not sensitive to hitting quarterly profit numbers. Also, like at for-profit companies, executives and administrators may be tempted to increase their own pay more than what one might expect for the job that they do.

    A government company that takes funding from the government must also obey the political pressures from the government.
  • VladenschlutteVladenschlutte Registered User Posts: 4,329 Senior Member
    I think the noblest thing for a school is to get those sub par and average students then producing the best out of them. I think that mentality will truly change society.

    Hogwarts! (Get it? 'Cause you want colleges to do magic.)

    People like results that are easy to quantify. If you can't quantify it, no one believes you did anything. It's hard for a school to quantify really turning the ordinary into the extraordinary. It's easy for a school to quantify their placement amongst other schools, they just look it up in a yearly updated table.
  • HPuck35HPuck35 Registered User Posts: 1,826 Senior Member
    It is a cyclic thing. The better the student population, the higher level the classes can be taught at. The higher level classes produce better graduates. The reputation builds. The better the reputation, the better profs they can attract, the better the student applicants are and the more money they can charge (both the students and for their research capabilities as all the top schools are also big research unversities). Opps, the circle ended at money.
  • MarianMarian Registered User Posts: 12,988 Senior Member
    Part of it has to do with the US News rankings.

    My alma mater calls me every year, begging for a donation. They employ students to make these calls. I send a small donation -- $50 or thereabouts. They are delighted, despite the small amount, because one of the multitude of factors that contributes to US News ranking is "percentage of alumni who donate."

    Yet it probably costs them more then $50 in wages paid to the call center kids to extract that money from me.

    The quality of students that a college attracts plays a far greater role in the US News ranking system than alumni donations. You had better believe that colleges are willing to pay a lot more to get top students.
  • dadx3dadx3 Registered User Posts: 1,559 Senior Member
    To amplify post #4, just because colleges and universities may be non-profit does not mean that they are cost minimizers. College administrators love to spend more money (they say have more resources) on facilities, new programs and, yes, salaries. It's not that these are necessarily bad or unproductive things, it is just that it all takes money. So to keep the lights on, build the reputation of the school, and preserve both the institution and the salaries and benefits of the institution's employees, colleges have a great incentive to have as many applicants as possible. The only downside is that they have more applications to read, but they can always hire more admissions staff.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 28,685 Senior Member
    Partly it's to get their name out there. But, why pursue the brightest? Complicated thing about insititutional standing (more than public rating.) -Wanting the right mix of freshman who will take on the challenges and stay for 2nd year (retention,) kids likely to graduate (4- and 6-year grad rates) and the fact that they need successful grads to contribute money back to the development campaigns. The better a kid feels he was challenged, that his peers were challenged, and the overall experience was good, the more likely he/she is to give back. And, more. It's one reason Harvard is so phenomenally successful at fundraising and the much lesser colleges aren't.

    I don't think college is about producing the best out of average and subpar kids. It can be about further inspiring- but it's not meant to make up for issues with high schools or the prep kids got in hs. As it is, remedial support is a rising cost.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 71,095 Senior Member
    I don't think college is about producing the best out of average and subpar kids.

    That is part of the mission of community colleges -- to take students with inadequate high school preparation or performance and allow them another chance at higher education (whether it is transfer to a university to complete a bachelor's degree, or some other program at the community college). But that is usually not a headline grabber (and even when a student who started at community college and then transfers to a university makes headlines, the bachelor's / master's / doctoral degree granting school tends to get the glory by association).
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 28,685 Senior Member
    ^Totally agree. And, many cc's do have some very good programs, filled with some well-prepared and very motivated kids and back-to-school adults.
  • vlinesvlines Registered User Posts: 3,579 Senior Member
    Every student they entice to apply gives them an application fee. Whether the student is right for their program or not. My son recevied Yale's science and engineering book in the mail today. He looked at me funny, and said "WHY? Am I the type of student that apply's there?" The answer is yes and no. He has the skills and the grades, probably not the SAT and EC's they would want. However, if he decided he liked the looks of the book, he may sink the large app. fee as a reach school. And almost immediately be thrown in the "no" pile on receipt at Yale.
  • momof3greatgirlsmomof3greatgirls Registered User Posts: 817 Member
    I don't get it either. The huge amount of money these large envelopes must cost to produce and mail is crazy to me. I am so glad my oldest is in college now. We used to get 6 a day on average and it was making my mail sorting way to much work. My dd email box was jammed too. With in one month my entire dining room table was full of mail.

    She did an ok job on the SAT but not a national merit winner. I wonder how bad it must be for them?
  • eastcoascrazyeastcoascrazy Registered User Posts: 2,441 Senior Member
    Last year my son received an unsolicited 65 page, spiral bound, glossy book from Johns Hopkins touting their music engineering program. To be admitted one had to be admitted to BOTH the Peabody Institute and the Hopkins school of engineering. The tuition was laughably astronomical. The enclosed letter explained that his name had been gathered as one of very few students nationally with extremely high math SAT scores AND a possible interest in music as a major (he checked that box when he took the SAT).

    He asked around and found out that the program struggles to find 15 students each year, that most kids who are interested in pursuing music engineering have been playing around with sound boards and easy to use computer programs for years (he hadn't ever expressed even an interest in that side of music), and that the return on the investment would be highly questionable.

    The point is that the book, while impressively slick, was purely a marketing tool for a hard to fill program.
  • alynoralynor Registered User Posts: 149 Junior Member
    The postal service sure must be grateful for all of this marketing.
This discussion has been closed.