I’ve been researching several graduate schools and seminaries lately and nearly every school website and “About Us” page seems the same. Different colors, different phrasing, but they virturally all claim to be the perfect place for education. Great faculty, diverse environment, high standards…
I know they are vague because the prevailing philosophy is something like: “Cast a wide net with generalizations and get specific when someone expresses interest.” Though I understand this, I think it could be done better.
As a school-searcher I’m really not looking for the flowery language; I want specifics. What does it take to get in? (Literal GRE score and GPA minimums) What do your faculty members believe/teach? (Maybe a blurb of essential convictions or a statement of faith from seminary profs) Who should come here and who shouldn’t?
Here’s an example of how specific marketing works for the marketer:
A dear friend of mine is a collegiate coach. He has taken an overtly Christ-centered approach to his team. They have a document outlining essential convictions about teamwork, effort, and spriturality (among other things). He don’t just say that the team is at a Christian school, he is frank about his expectations. (And you can even find it online!)
Most coaches would shy away from this for fear it would drive nominal Christians or lost people away. However, the opposite has been true. Players (Christian or otherwise) who want this atmosphere are willing to travel hundereds of miles to be part of the program. If he had been vague, he would get the results every other coach gets.
For Christians, I believe God will bless faithful boldness in obedience to him. However, the principle of specific marketing will work for anyone. Not every student is going to come to your school, so find out which ones will and tell them the details upfront.