Personalized postcards. That’s what really caught Lindsey Moore’s eye when it came to choosing a college. 

“After I submitted my application, The College of Wooster sent me these unique, personalized postcards,” Moore said. “One of them displayed a nice comment about my personal essay and that made me feel heard in a way other universities didn’t.”

Moore’s experience is a good reminder that sometimes it’s something as simple as a postcard that makes your institution stand out from all of the others vying for a prospective student’s attention. But, figuring out what touchpoints are the most meaningful as you’re trying to get prospective students to enroll at your university can be a challenge. 

That’s why we’ve gone straight to Moore and three other students at a few U.S. institutions to get the scoop on what made a difference to them. Read on to see what they said. 

Lindsey Moore, Bachelor of Arts, Class of 2024, The College of Wooster

Deciding Factors: In addition to the personalized postcard that Moore mentioned, she also was attracted to the resources the college provided to students — particularly the APEX center and independent study program, as they were tools that could set her up for success. “I also really enjoyed my tour and the swag I got when I came to visit,” Moore added. “The tour was personalized to me, and the guide was incredibly knowledgeable and engaging.”

One Area for Improvement: Moore would have liked to have received more frequent communication from the college prior to being admitted. “For example, I received communications from them every eight weeks. But, I wish I would have received them every four weeks,” she said. “I think that would have made my decision to apply even easier, because it would have provided more opportunities to get my questions answered.”  

Talynn Portillo, Master of Arts in Sport Management and Administration, Class of 2022, Southern Nazarene University 

Deciding Factors: Portillo appreciated that SNU reached out with a phone call. “SNU was the only university to reach out to me with a phone call from the program recruiter vs. an informational email,” she said. “On top of that, the director of the program reached out to me after my initial phone call with the recruiter and told me about the program. I was hooked.”

One Area for Improvement: Portillo would have liked to have been connected to her financial aid advisor earlier in the recruiting process. “While SNU did an excellent job of personalizing all touchpoints during the recruitment process — from the phone call to the swag back in the mail — I wish I’d had contact with this advisor earlier,” Portillo said. “For example, I would have liked to get in contact with them in early December when I was exploring the program with my recruiter, rather than in early February once my FAFSA was received by the university. Then, I would have known how approachable they were and how helpful the information they could provide was.” 

Abby Showalter, Bachelor of Arts, Class of 2024, The College of Wooster

Deciding Factors: “One thing I remember well about my college search was the admissions counselor who visited my high school,” Showalter said. “We ended up being the only people in the meeting. It felt like a very personal exchange, and I got a feel for the college without even having to be there.” Plus, when Showalter was accepted, her admissions counselor wrote a nice note about Showalter's college essay and how excited she was to see her attend the college. “It was very personal and appreciated,” Showalter added.

One Area for Improvement: In Showalter’s eyes, there isn’t anything she would have had the college do differently. “I think they did a really good job with the entire admissions process,” she added. “I was looking for personalization, timeliness of response, and just general excitement. And Wooster did a great job on all these fronts!”

Abhinay Kolli, Master’s in Data Science, Class of 2022, University at Buffalo

Deciding Factors: Kolli appreciated the personal touches that the university used to recruit him. “From the emails to the phone calls, Buffalo was quick to address my questions and concerns,” Kolli said. “And the campus tour I went on truly felt like a firsthand experience of the university's facilities, academic programs, and student life.”

One Area for Improvement: Kolli does wish that the university did a better job of sharing information related to the costs of attending. “For example, early in the recruiting process, it would have been useful to have a better idea of how much things like housing, books, and food cost,” he added. “That would have helped me make my decision more quickly.”

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