Post Academic


Speaking of Unhappy Customers …

Posted in Broke-Ass Schools,The Education Industry by Caroline Roberts on May 4, 2010
Tags: , , ,

Yesterday I linked to guru Seth Godin, who singled out colleges and universities for “amateur and bland direct mail” that encourages applications or donations.

Maybe Godin should have revised “amateur and bland direct mail” to read “mail that will piss former students off and lead to craigslist meltdowns.” One student received a brochure the student’s alma mater, where the student received an MA in public policy. Alas, the school’s timing was bad, as the student remains unemployed, despite a pricey MA:

So, what I want to know is, why are you wasting money on glossy fundraising brochures full of meaningless synonyms for the word “Excellence”? And, why are you sending them to ME? Yes, I know that I got a master’s degree at your fine institution, but that master’s degree hasn’t done jack shit for me since I got it! I have been unemployed for the past TWO YEARS and I am now a professional resume-submitter, sending out dozens of resumes a month to employers, and the degree I received in your hallowed halls is at the TOP OF IT and it doesn’t do a fucking thing.

You know, maybe if you wanted a little bit of money from me (and these days you’d get about $3) maybe you should send me a fancy color brochure admitting your role in the bubble economics that got us all in to this mess.

Note to institutions of higher education—perhaps your alumni might be willing to send you money if you printed those brochures on newsprint because full color gloss is expensive. Second, you might get more respect from your alumni if you sent them brochures about what your career center has to offer.

Best of Craigslist > Seattle > Dear University Alumni Office

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4 Responses to 'Speaking of Unhappy Customers …'

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  1. Jeannette said,

    I saw this posting on Best of Craigslist. It is reminiscent of my experiences both at the graduate and undergraduate levels: getting requests for donations the summer after graduation before I got a job. In grad school, I was in one of those PhD programs that awards an AM after completion of coursework. Having received the MA, I got a phone call requesting donations. I told them that I was still in school living on the stipend.

  2. SarahK said,

    I had the same experience as Jeannette, except my solicitation was by mail, specifically for graduate education, when I was still in a Ph.D. program. I scrawled a message on their reply card and mailed it back, and someone must have paid attention because I haven’t received donation requests since. I’m not looking forward to having them start up again after graduation…

  3. Arnold Pan said,

    Ditto for me, too: I used to receive phone calls from UCI undergrads asking me to donate after I got my MA but while I was still completing my PhD. I tried to explain to the caller that I wasn’t really an alumnus yet, but the student solicitor either couldn’t figure it out or didn’t care or didn’t want to deal with anything off script. In the end, it was just a really awkward call–I’m just hoping it wasn’t someone I taught!


  4. Schools might do better if they did a little research on their alumni. They could at least figure out if people have actually graduated or not. Maybe they could convert their four-color glossy brochure money to that kind of project!


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