5 Creative Ideas for Higher Education Direct Mail


With thousands of colleges and universities in the United States and many more internationally, admissions departments and recruiters have their work cut out for them.

How can you stand out from the crowd, grab a potential student’s attention, and get them registered for classes at your institution?

Direct mail is still a very powerful tool, but only if your mail stands out from the crowd of envelopes each potential student receives. Here are some creative ideas to make prospects fall in love with your school.

Full-Color Image Catalog

Do you really think stock photography of “students” engaged in everyday activities will convince a young adult that your school is the one for him or her? Instead, put together an image catalog that really shows off the best your school has to offer. Show the beautiful buildings, amazing green spaces, your enormous sports stadiums and arenas, and all the activities available.

Your college or university is unique, so why use the same tired photos as everyone else? Take this chance to shine. Give those prospective students something to daydream about.


Rather than a form letter or even brochure filled with dates and activity times, consider individual and personalized invitations to each. If you’re hosting a campus tour, send an invitation printed on beautiful card stock with all the information necessary. When professors are available to speak with potential students, send another invitation with handwritten information.

When these students receive an actual invitation that’s personalized with their name instead of a general flyer or brochure, they feel special. Invitations also bring to mind fun events, which could result in a higher response rate.

Hardcover Collectible Book

A hardcover book is a more expensive piece of direct mail, but the results could be well worth the cost. Those who do choose to apply can use the book upon arrival on campus.

What should you include in the book? Consider tabbed sections with information all new students should have. Some ideas might include a campus map, a listing of professors and other staff members, floor plans for the buildings showing all classrooms, an overview of the stadium and arena, information about each residence hall, and a space for students to take notes. Believe it or not, that last option could end up being the most important, because graduates will love looking back on their first week of college. Those notes may bring laughter, pride, and a sense of nostalgia that endears your school to them even more.

Comprehensive Financial Aid Brochure

One of the biggest challenges many students face, after receiving acceptance to the school of their choice of course, is paying for their education. Many don’t even realize the wide array of options that are available, and they never will if you don’t take the time to inform them.

A full-color, comprehensive brochure that outlines every option for financial aid could be an invaluable resource for prospective students. With all the options right there at their fingertips, they may just make a move toward higher education that might not have happened otherwise.

Prospective Student Magazine

Picking a school is a grown-up decision, but that doesn’t mean everything about going to college has to be grown up. Most of the kids that will join your school in the coming years will be interested in the things they loved as high schoolers. A magazine that shows your current students in the latest fashions and the hottest activities can go a long way toward convincing a prospect that your school is the one for them.

Of course, you do want to point out the serious aspects of choosing a college, so information about the learning a new student experiences is important, too. But there’s nothing wrong with reminding prospects about the fun that can be had, too. By presenting the information in the form of a magazine, you keep the tone light and fun while also presenting very real information.

If you’re interested in reaching more students for your higher learning institution, we’re here to help. We can make any of these suggestions a reality. You can also bring any of your own ideas to the table, and we’ll turn them into a recruiting powerhouse.