Academic journal article College and University

College Access Marketing

Academic journal article College and University

College Access Marketing

Article excerpt

COLLEGE ACCESS MARKETING (CAM) IS A RELATIVELY NEW PHENOMENON THAT SEEKS TO POSITIVELY INFLUENCE THE COLLEGE-GOING RATE. THIS REPORT DEFINES CAM, DESCRIBES CAM EXAMPLES, AND DISCUSSES HOW CAM SEEKS TO COUNTER BARRIERS TO COLLEGE. IT EXPLORES FOUR MAIN ELEMENTS OF CAM: INFORMATION, MARKETING ADVOCACY, AND SOCIAL MOBILIZATION. FURTHER, IT IDENTIFIES THEMES AMONG THE CAM LITERATURE THAT ILLUSTRATE ITS VALUE. IT EXPLAINS CAM'S ROLE IN SUPPORTING ACCESS TO HIGHER EDUCATION, DISCUSSES THE SHORTCOMINGS OF THE LITERATURE, AND IDENTIFIES AREAS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH. AS CAM EVOLVES, SO WILL ITS EFFECTIVENESS PROMOTING HIGHER EDUCATION AND FACILITATING COLLEGE ENROLLMENT.

"Going to college"

is an expression that has been used since the first college in the United States opened in the i6oos (Cabrera and Burkum 2,001). Since then, colleges have promoted and advertised themselves, often selling the education they provided. According to Gastwirth (iooya), the Ad Council promoted "going to college" prior to the 19705 as a way to increase college attendance. In the 19905, to further increase the college-going rate, the concept of college access marketing (CAM) emerged and the expression was coined (Gastwirth iooyb). (CAM is so new that it does not appear in the online college access glossary hosted by the National College Access Network.) CAM is a public awareness effort designed to positively influence the college-going rate. The intent of CAM is to "change students' behaviors. ..related to preparing for, attending, and succeeding in college" (Mize 2008). On the basis of public opinion research, the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education (2009) states that the American population "believes that college access is declining" (p. i). The American populations perception is their reality.

From apractical perspective, CAM seeks to influence the predisposition and the search stages of the college choice model developed by Hossler and Gallagher (Hossler, Schmit and Vesper 1999). This model explains the process of how students prepare for and enter higher education. According to Hossler and Gallagher (1999), students experience three stages in the college choice process, and CAM can shape students' perspectives through psychological constructs (Hossler and Palmer 2008; Hossler, Schmit and Vesper 1999).

With college access a top priority of educators, legislators, and business professionals, there has been a surge of marketing and awareness campaigns to increase the college-going rate. The blending of college access and marketing is not new, but thanks to foundations, higher education associations, college access marketing, and non-profit organizations, financial and other resources are being invested to encourage students to pursue a college education and consequently to increase college enrollments. This paper seeks to define CAM, to identify and describe CAM examples, and to determine whether CAM is an effective tool - all through a review of related resources.

At its core, CAM is really a form of advocacy, communication, and social mobilization (Grimm 2001). CAM advocates for enrollment in higher education and communicates directly using college-going messages to mobilize individuals to choose college. The origin of such communication and mobilization efforts lies with work the Ad Council (2010) undertook in 1942. Examples of advocacy and social mobilization efforts include the "'just say no' to drugs campaign," the "campaign for tobacco-free kids," and the "only you can prevent forest fires" slogan featuring Smokey the Bear (Ad Council 2010). Overall, the goal of CAM is to create social change by influencing students' decision making.

Today, CAM has many faces. According to Christensen 2010), "A college access marketing campaign may comprise a single project or an ongoing, reiterative program" (p.i). CAM initiatives range from national efforts and statewide projects to limited campaigns and electronic implementations. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.