University of Charleston – Recruitment Communications

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The Challenge

The University of Charleston (UC) is one of only a handful of schools across the country that offers an outcomes-focused curriculum. Albeit a point of distinction, the concept can be complicated, and for a number of years it was hidden behind an unclear brand. Zone 5 was engaged to help UC refine its recruitment communications strategies. The first key point was to define the curriculum’s concept of Learning Your Way; once this was accomplished internally, it would be rolled out to prospective audiences.

The first-impressions piece needed to be an appropriate introduction to UC. Offering a first glimpse of the University’s campus, programs, and student life, the piece needed to pique interest, as well as set the stage for future communications and engagement. And perhaps most importantly, it needed to attract the “right fit” students for UC’s unique curriculum.

The Solution

While most other schools offer students a “typical” look at their programs and environment, we wanted to challenge students’ perceptions. Zone 5 believed the best way for a prospect to understand UC’s differences was to ask them to change their perspective on college search. Because at face value, any college education might be perceived the same… it’s when you look closer and learn more about UC that you realize this university is different.

With the use of “unexpected phrasing” (not the typical messaging “sold” in higher ed) and clever type treatment, we were able to unfold (literally) an introduction to a unique approach to learning.

The Results

The first-impressions piece was a welcomed addition to the admissions toolbox. And while direct feedback from the prospective group is pending, reports from the UC team indicate it is indeed a “right fit” for the brand and recruitment process.