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A Picture Generates 10,000 Applications

The College’s administration does less with more every year, and an alum writes in to alert us to yet another incidence of sloppiness:

You may have already covered this, but your recent post about the Admissions Department website reminded me of a pet peeve of mine — the Dartmouth photo used by U.S. News & World Report with its rankings.

Photos for Harvard, Yale, etc. show warm, inviting campuses. The photo for Dartmouth depicts a cold, inhospitable place. Not exactly the image to attract top students! No other highly ranked school is similarly depicted.

With a PR army at its disposal, and thousands of more appropriate photos available to provide USN&WR, you would think the College would correct this situation.

I think a fair number of impressionable high school kids would fail to apply based on that photo alone.

Let’s take a look. Here’s the College’s photo, and Harvard, Princeton and Yale’s (from upper left moving clockwise):

US News Pic DHYP.jpg

And Columbia, Penn, Cornell and Brown’s:

US News CPBC.jpg

Not only does the College present a wintry face to the world (and to fun-loving high school seniors, especially those from the nation’s various sunshine states), but alone among all of the Ivies, our U.S. News page does not have any inset/click-on images, like the Harvard picture (screenshot below):

US News Harvard Multi-Pic.jpg

Among the attributes of good management is the endless sweating of small details, the relentless improvement of products and presentation. Given that every single potential applicant to the College will look at the U.S. News page, do the 16 staffers in the Admissions department think that a single picture of a snowy Dartmouth is the very best way to attract top-quality students to Hanover. Have they ever given any thought at all to the question?

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

You made a great point about the wintry publicity pic of Dartmouth. I would add that this flub is all the more irksome given that the other schools presumably put their best feet forward and yet *don’t look that inviting.* In contrast, a lovely summer shot of Baker or Dartmouth Row: Wow! Applications will be up 80%!

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