New Admissions Materials Sell the “Andover Experience” Over Facts and Figures

“Smart, sophisticated and authentic” are the three adjectives Tracy Sweet, Director of Academy Communications, hoped to convey in new marketing materials that give a glimpse of the “Andover way.” Over a year and a half in the making, the release of new Admissions materials and the new Andover website have concluded the latest undertakings in Andover’s communications program, said Sweet. This fall, the admissions office received a brand new catalogue, a revised application and a view book—a smaller, condensed version of the catalogue. The planning behind the admission publications and the launch of the new Andover website, began in response to the 2004 Strategic Plan. In order to support, “Andover’s aspirations as a leader in secondary school education,” a goal of the Strategic Plan was to “establish the need for a well-structured communications program.” Sweet said Andover strove to avoid “slick marketing.” According to Sweet, there is a possibility that future campaign communication materials will be available electronically and in print. Although the content of these materials is “yet to be determined,” Sweet mentioned other possible opportunities such as having a presence on Facebook, updating the alumni portal and podcasting campus events. In comparison to other schools, Sweet said, “I think we are very much on the leading edge with these publications, both by setting the bar high and setting it in an elevated tone. I know we’re all very proud of that.” She said, “It is important for any institution to be proactive in accurately relaying its messages. If you don’t, you could run the risk of letting other people define who you are as an institution and that is a dangerous road to travel down.” Jane Fried, Dean of Admissions, said, “One of the goals of this catalogue was to get prospective students to think about the Andover experience in addition to the facts and figures about the school.” “If you look at the old catalogue, there’s a lot of focus on history, there’s a lot of information and it reads more like a textbook. This is more like a journal,” Fried said. The legacy of Andover was another aspect of the Academy writers and editors sought to include in the new website and Admissions materials. “We are really looking at a present informed by the past and we felt that the graphics reflected that. An institution with this kind of history, heritage and legacy will always be incredibly proud of its past and its foundation,” Sweet said. According to Sweet, over 100 people have been involved in the creation of the new website. Although planning for the website had begun before Sweet’s arrival in the spring of 2007, work on the Admissions material and website, “have both been on my plate since I arrived.” Sweet’s past in marketing has allowed her to bring someknowledge from her background to the projects at Andover, she said. “I have experience implementing integrated communication programs at other schools, but projects of this magnitude cannot be accomplished without the team work and experiences of many people across campus,” Sweet wrote in an email to The Phillipian. The professional collaboration at Andover is especially impressive.”