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Know Your Audience

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My daughter and I are in the throes of graduation preparation and college selection; I feel like a crazy person. Last weekend, she had a meltdown for which I had to do damage control and restore her sense of balance (and still get the boy to basketball practice on time). This past week had been constant contact with the college guidance office for me (not pretty, fodder for another post) and AP exam anxiety for her. We capped the week with a day visit to my alma mater,  Temple University in Philly- either to take it off the table or increase the complexity of her decision.

We drove up from DC to attend an information session and tour. There has been so much on-campus development that I was lost; fellow alumni have kept me abreast but to see it was stunning. Anyway, listening to the admission’s counselor wrap up the presentation, I hear:

This is not the Temple of the 80s and 90s. At that time,  anyone with a pulse could get in.

My daughter turns to me wide-eyed and I mirror her shock/surprise/offense. The group was corralled for a restroom break before the tour. My daughter was turned off. I agreed that it was inappropriate but urged her to take the tour and I’d deal with it later. [I had to put my big-girl panties on.]

I left her in the restroom prettying up her hair and returned to the group. I found said counselor answering a few more questions from parents and students. Do you have a question? No just a comment.

Class of 95. You should probably not use that line in your talk.

Crickets.
Cue the stuttering. What I meant was in the SEVENTIES, it was seen as a public university for Philadelphia. You could get in with a 2.7 and a 750 score. Those that attended then as parents they think it’s still that way and it’s not…
I gave no response and the lobby was slient. I found my daughter to begin the tour.

As a PR professional, I have written countless speeches, talking points and created multi-media presentations. I have always driven home the rule of knowing your audience with senior execs, board members, CEOs. This is PR 101. Never mind my personal feelings about the statement. He is an agent of the university and therefore a spokesman. You do not make disparaging remarks about your organization in public. Further, do your research. We had to register for this activity. My daughter’s file should be flagged that her parent is an alum because it was a question on the admission application. If it isn’t, it should be to maximize CRM. And, most importantly…WHO DO YOU THINK MAKES UP YOUR DONOR BASE? Surely not graduates within the last decade…

I see this as a teachable moment. I am hopeful that he received the lesson.
#templemade

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2014 in Career, Education, Family, Youth

 

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Won’t Read THAT In the News

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Today my daughter and I attended DC CAP’s annual scholarship seminar and luncheon to learn more about the financial aid process and tuition assistance opportunities for DC students. The highlight of the program was the announcement of winners of DC CAPs contest, Why I Want to Go to College. High school seniors could answer the question using one of the following media: rap, song, visual art or essay.

Honorable Mentions were named first and the winners appeared onstage. The top three winners presented their submissions. Third place wrote a letter to his dad that answered the essay question and has used it for some college applications; there was not a dry eye in the room, especially my own. Second place was a painting of Trayvon Martin (pictured above). The young man explained that many times he does not share what he’s feeling, but his art allows him to express it. First place went to a school mate and friend of my daughter’s who was shot last Spring by an unknown assailant as he walked his cousin to the bus stop. He wrote about getting a second chance at life and his desire to have a safe place for his future children to grow and play; college is his ticket to better.

It struck me that the three winners were African American males. YES!!!! You won’t see that on this evening’s news…

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2013 in Arts, Education, Family, Reflection, writing, Youth

 

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SAT Scores Down in District

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SAT reading scores are down in DC. This new crop of students has an average of 407; counterparts in MD and VA scored 496 and 508, respectively with only VA making the national average.

Arguably, this test does not predict one’s college performance, however it is still an admissions prerequisite. I don’t know if these scores are seniors only or a mixture of juniors and seniors. There is an upcoming test in three weeks so seniors have time to raise them.

The good news? Many schools now “superscore” the test. In other words, if students take the test multiple times, they take the highest ever score of each section and total them.

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2012 in Education, Youth

 

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