Addressing admissions myths in your communications
Business school has always had a reputation of being sophisticated, selective – and for some, even an exclusive club. This perception can serve as a double-edged sword; it’s enticing, yet also a deterrent. For many schools, marketing includes a delicate balance of maintaining your reputation of being selective while also appearing accessible and personal. The good news is that you can address common admissions myths in your communications and your enrollment process.
Recently one of the most highly selective programs in the country published an article on Poets & Quants, “11 Myths About Getting into Harvard Business School.” Regardless of where your school falls on the spectrum of perceived selectivity, you can address prospects that may be intimidated by the degree, the competition, or just business school in general.
Address personal barriers
Many people who are considering a graduate program have similar personal and professional barriers in common, especially for MBA and Executive MBA programs where they may already be in an established career. These include:
- Time commitment
- Admissions requirements
- Current job responsibilities
- Family commitments
Prior to prospects entering your funnel, they have questions that you can address in your digital advertising, website, marketing materials and events. Offering direct messaging that acknowledges their hesitations can be done with transparent questions like, “Is now your time?”; or reassuring statements like, “We know you have questions, let’s chat.” Learn more.
Address business school myths
Regardless of how selective (or not) your program is, there will always be those prospects who are too intimidated by the idea of business school to apply. Here are some common misconceptions that can create the perfect storm of doubt in your prospects’ minds:
- It is too hard to get in
- Test scores are the only determining factor
- The environment is cutthroat
- Faculty is not accessible
- The return on investment isn’t there
- A background with a low undergrad GPA or an unconventional career path can be a deterrent
For some of these myths, you can easily add verbiage to your application and admissions pages on your website. You can also employ current students and alumni to give testimonials regarding their application process to give a personal and believable spin on the information you’d like to present. In addition, you can combat the inaccessible faculty myth by including professors at your on-campus events, in webinars, in videos, or in sample classes that provide a preview of faculty interaction. The last thing your prospects want to feel like is “number.” Do your best to combat that feeling with a strategy aimed at transparency and personalization.
Address truths and misconceptions about your school
Let’s face it, certain schools or programs have the reputation of being aimed at specific functional areas – such as finance or operations. There may also be a misconception that unless you are targeting a CEO career path, the program may not be for you. Although those things may not be true, your prospects may believe their success will be limited in your program.
A few things your prospects may be concerned about:
- There’s a certain type of person/background that will fit the student profile
- The program is only for a certain career path
- The application process is too difficult
While you may want to highlight certain career paths, classes, or professors, it’s important to showcase a well-rounded curriculum and focus on how all backgrounds can be successful. This can be done by highlighting alumni with diverse backgrounds and outcomes. You can also find ways to showcase those with non-traditional career paths and how they fit into the classroom dynamics and peer groups. The goal is to show how everyone can belong and that all backgrounds and skillsets are valued.
With just a few additions to your website, marketing materials, and admissions process, your school can be well on its way to myth-busting common misconceptions to open the door a bit wider for your prospects.
If your school needs help brainstorming ways to improve your communications and address your prospects’ barriers in marketing, GPRS can help. Our team has worked with over 60 schools to develop solutions to increase lead activity and grow enrollment. Start the conversation today.