Carleton College: Come visit, on us.

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Free, Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Thoughts, Zinch | Posted on 09-09-2008


While I am still trying to get some measly gas cards to give out, Carleton College in Northfield, MN is giving away all-expenses paid trips to come visit their college.

Nancy, a high school student who contributes to the blog at, writes:

I got a small pamphlet-like letter in the mail late last week from Carleton College inviting me to enter a sort of contest where about 50 kids from under-represented groups get an all-expenses paid trip (YES, THAT INCLUDES AIR-FARE!) to spend three days on their campus. My initial reaction was: “WHATTTTT?! THIS IS AWESOME!!! *runs around house screaming*”

I think it’s safe to say that she feels special, selected, impressed, lucky, excited… you name it.

Head over to the Zinch Blog to read the rest of the blog post.

I had a chance to meet Matthew Ryan, the Associate Director of Web Communications and Development at Carleton during our flight delay after eduWeb.¬† They’ve got a lot of great stuff on their site, like this student-produced video about Carleton.

And I’ll leave you with one more quote from Nancy:

A piece of advice to all other colleges: If you want students to get more interested in your school, just offer them free trips! Please learn from the almighty, glorious, and benevolent Carleton College!

Comments posted (6)

Hey Brad! Thanks for the shout-out. Yes, Carleton is doing great things when it comes to communicating with students, videos included.

I’ll mention Butler on the Zinch blog if you’ll agree to give me an interview. A free trip to Butler would be nice, though. :)

Oh, by the way, towards the end of your post you mistake my name for Sarah.

At my school, we still charge visitors for parking, to say nothing of giving out gas cards, or flying students in from around the United States. Part of me thinks this is embarassing, but part of me thinks it’s realistic.

At what point do these visit perks create unrealistic expectations with the students? “Sure, we’ll pick up the tab for your drive/flight/stay, and now you love us. Isn’t that state school over there soooooo crappy? Oh, by the way, here’s your $45,000 tuition bill.”

Ultimately, I think it’s great they they’re targeting students that might not be able to visit their school otherwise, I just wonder where the line is drawn between buying an applicant and trying to help them find a good fit.

Rob M. – another Rob with an initial is posting :)

With Carleton, they may very well match these trips for “under-represented groups” with equally impressive financial aid packages. Their endowment is somewhere in the neighborhood of $650 million, and their enrollment is around 2,000 students.

And enticing these students to visit Carleton with such a carrot when Ivies are likely also courting these same students without the travel perk… Why not spend some money on these trips when you have the money to spend. Visiting Carleton’s beautiful 1,000+ acre campus could definitely win these kids over:

Maybe St. Olaf (in the same town, and a respectable college reputation-wise) gets a boost in visitors through Carleton’s program, too ;)

The payment for travel up front is impressive. I have seen “lesser” private colleges use a “fake money” approach, promising $500 off tuition (which would have been discounted, anyhow) for people who come to visit. At least one school in Butler’s home state does that.

I agree with Rob #2. Carleton gives excellent financial aid. If not, I would have never applied to “Taste of Carleton” in the first place.

On a smaller scale than Carleton with airfare, etc., some colleges still do bus trips from within their region, and include on-campus accommodations (student hosts), and on-campus meals.

They are relatively inexpensive to do, and can yield well. Having been involved with these in the past, they are memorable experiences.

To keep costs down, contract the bus out from your first pick-up point, not from where your college is located. This will cut the bus mileage in half.

Arrange for a few stops along the way to pick up additional students. Locations such as well-known area shopping malls (location at the mall specified, of course) work well.

Bring along snacks, beverages, and movies.

Often there will be one or two students on the bus that are natural leaders and very outgoing. Work with that in terms of handing out snacks, picking movies, etc.

And don’t forget time-zone differences when arranging pick-ups and drop-offs ;)

i need a visit to your college in next month,i want to hear from you soon

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