Just over a week ago, President Obama announced the launch of College Scorecard, a college search website by the U.S. Department of Education. The site, with a simple yet effective design and icon system, allows prospective students to search colleges by traditional means (size, location, programs offered) and compare them by an increasingly important set of criteria: average cost, graduation rate, salary after graduation, and typical debt.
This is great — for students.
For colleges and universities, it is more problematic.
Young people and their parents will be using College Scorecard to define and refine their college search. And with typical student loan debt steadily rising to overwhelming levels (take a look at this chart on average debt from the graduating classes of 1993 through 2015), choosing a college based on financial impact is a smart decision.
But it’s not enough information on which to base such a life-altering decision. It’s not the whole story, because, well, it’s missing the actual story.
In response to stat-based tools like College Scorecard and the numbers-focused approach to college research, higher ed needs to up their storytelling game and set themselves apart from the institutions that will appear alongside them in a search based on facts and figures.
A good story can turn a college from one-of-many to the one. It can even make taking on a little more debt, or risking a slightly lower future salary, seem worth it.
Ultimately, the majority of students choose their first post-high school step with their head and their heart. College Scorecard speaks only to their head, and it’s up to each individual higher education institution to speak to both.
Start telling your university’s stand-out story. We have some tips, case studies, and additional insight that will set you on the right path:
And if you’re struggling to tell your best story online, let us know why. We’ll use your input to shape future articles that will help you tell your story.