UT takes a different approach when reaching out to prospective students

Kate Dannenmaier

Prospective college students often find themselves bombarded with emails and postcards from different universities asking them to apply to their institution — but not from UT.

Instead of using paid advertising, UT spokesman Gary Susswein said the University advertises itself through public service announcements at nationally televised athletic events, emails to high school students encouraging them to apply, advertisements in publications such as the Princeton Review and representatives at college fairs.

According to Susswein, UT benefits greatly from its strong reputation for teaching and research programs.

“We are consistently ranked among the best universities in the world on multiple lists and have some of the highest-rated academic programs in the world,” Susswein said. “People looking for the top options are likely to learn about us.” 

According to advertising professor Isabella Cunningham, applications for undergraduate admission always exceed available capacity, so the University doesn’t need to engage in a lot of paid advertising to recruit undergraduates.

“Most of all UT lets its graduates be its ambassadors to prospective students, legislators, researchers, global leaders and so on,” Cunningham said.

John Harmon, aerospace engineering sophomore from Illinois, said that, in addition to taking advantage of UT’s engineering program, that his family had attended the University was a big influence on his decision to study at UT.

“I’ve been a Longhorn fan my whole life because my dad and my sister went here, and so the choice was easy,” Harmon said.

Cunningham said recruitment of undergraduates would not be the only objective of a first-class university. According to Cunningham, it is more important for UT to reach out to different communities in order to recruit graduate students and top faculty candidates.

“To do so, the University employs a number of communication tools like press releases, an award-winning website, conferences and professional meetings and many more,” Cunningham said. “While these are not paid advertising activities, they are very effective methods for reaching UT’s intended audiences.”

Taylor Gordenstein, architecture freshman from Massachusetts , said she hadn’t heard of UT outside of its football team until her guidance counselor told her about its architecture program. She said, after researching UT and finding its program was among the best in the country, it was the only architecture school she considered.

“All the other schools I considered were out of state, and I just toured them all, and I really liked the way this campus felt,” Gordenstein said. “My decision was mostly made on deciding to study architecture.”