Congratulations to Rachel H. of Windham, New Hampshire for winning third place in HALO’s Fall 2017 Scholarship Contest. Rachel’s $500 prize will go towards her education at The Catholic University of America.
Rachel feels that many of her current classes are helping to prepare her for post-high school life and thinking like a marketer by using the thought-provoking Socratic method. “…90% of my classes have been taught in the Socratic method. This is important because every class fosters the same people skills that I will be using as a successful marketer…encouraging out of the box thinking to discover the most efficient solution.”
Read Rachel’s winning essay below.
Essay topic: Describe a community branding event done well. What organization or brand hosted the event? What was the objective? How were promotional products incorporated? Was the objective met? If so, what helped make the event a success? If not, could the brand improve the event next time?
How A Branding Event Unexpectedly Changed My Life
The branding event that I attended was for a product that many people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on. In 2016, the average customer of this product had to take out over $37,000 in loans over multiple years to cover the expense (Friedman, 2017). This is a sum that would make most people stop and reflect before borrowing, so it makes sense why successful colleges need their own promotional branding events. Although a college education is seldom referred to as a product, it is nonetheless an investment marketed on a nationwide scale to over 10 million students every year (Deluca, 2012). In the fall of my senior year, I was one of the 10 million, and I wanted to know exactly what I was investing in.
So, there I was, one interested applicant among many, searching for that unique facet that would set apart the Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C. from all the rest. The objectives were simple. I wanted to know why I should invest in an education from CUA instead of Marquette or Villanova, and CUA wanted to sell me on its educational experience. To be honest, I was not all that interested in CUA at the time, but CUA managed to impress me in more than the usual ways.
From the moment I walked through the door there was not one face that did not greet me with a smile. I was complimented on my firm handshake at many of the stations displaying CUA’s academic and extracurricular clubs and every professor and student gave me straight answers to my questions- good, bad, or ugly. “Okay,” I began to think, “Maybe there’s something different here.”
As the day progressed, I was impressed by the number of students I saw with either T-shirts or backpacks displaying the CUA logo; it was almost overwhelming. I had seen other schools use promotional attire to impress applicants, but the enthusiasm of the students displaying their CUA apparel, coupled with the vast number of students doing so, greatly exceeded my expectations and anything I had ever seen before. “I wouldn’t mind being part of such a united group of individuals,” I thought.
So, CUA had grabbed my attention, but I still wasn’t sold that such a small school would be able to offer me everything I needed. This thought was quickly squashed, however, when I raised my hand as my tour group stopped in front of the auditorium to ask the very question that plagued my mind.
“That’s an excellent question,” My tour guide responded with enthusiasm. He then proceeded to explain the numerous opportunities that attending a smaller university in the heart of DC entail, as well as describe the many clubs and athletics that CUA offered. “The main thing I’m trying to convey is that, at CatholicU, there’s something for everyone; here no one is just a face in a crowd,” he concluded. The group proceeded to clap; I was impressed.
Pulling out of the busy parking lot and turning towards the highway, I knew. It wasn’t just a gut feeling, and it wasn’t just because of a list of attributes unique to CUA either. I was a potential customer in need a product, but I didn’t even know exactly what I wanted, until I visited CUA. My experience left me with the confident and comforting knowledge that I had found my school. CUA’s promotional products (the school spirit, people, location, and opportunities) had sold me, and I had a feeling that I was going to be a very satisfied customer.
Deluca, M. (2012). College enrollment down by half a million students in 2012: Cencus Bureau report. NBC News.
Friedman, Z. (2017). Student Loan Det in 2017: a $1.3 Trillion Crisis. Forbes Magazine.