• Beth & Tim Manners

College Admissions Create Social-Media Moments

Updated: Sep 20, 2019

The Wall Street Journal: “Admissions officers are traveling hundreds of miles with a live animal to inform high-school seniors they have been accepted to a college—and to urge them to enroll. It’s not just the star athletes or scholarship winners who get the treatment. It is pretty much anyone, a tactic driven by competition to snag the declining number of college-bound high-school students. One of the hardest working college salesmen is Trip, a 6-year-old English bulldog with doleful, dark eyes. His predecessors are retired … When he travels to meet prospective students, his job is mostly to look fetching as he poses on porches, living-room rugs and in front of fireplaces. He gives paw-shakes, or ‘high-fives’ when the acceptance is announced. So far this year, the bulldog has visited about 50 accepted students.”


“There were 224,000 fewer undergraduates enrolled in colleges and universities in 2017 than in 2016. That decline is part of a larger drop which is forcing enrollment departments to get creative to keep up the flow of applications, acceptances and tuition checks. At many schools the numbers are heading in the wrong direction … Several schools surprise students with in-person announcements. The goal isn’t just to convince the few who get the special treatment, but to capture the student reaction and feature it on social media to induce their friends to apply.”


Kirk Brennan, the director of admission at the University of Southern California … said USC started the surprise visits about five years ago, but he is considering stopping them.” He explains: “It sort of feels like it’s more for us than the kids,” he said. “Some are embarrassed, they don’t know how to react. They feel awkward, maybe they’re more interested in another school.”

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