Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I like summer camp 

I think Arnold Kling and Robert Lawson are on to something: Universities are like summer camp. Lawson:
Ultimately I've concluded that colleges are all about selling an experience. Football in the fall; basektball in the winter; frats and sororities; bad food in the cafeteria, and even boring professors, are all part the image that people find appealing. Basically, they're buying idea of a college education. It's an identity thing. They want to say "I went to college at _______."
I can see that for a bigger school with a bigger name, but SCSU? Kling:
I think that the "summer camp" model explains why colleges have done more in recent years to improve their amenities than to improve education. It may explain grade inflation, since you want to keep the campers happy. It may explain why rural small colleges have fallen out of favor, while universities with top-ranked basketball teams have become more popular.
Someone noted in comments the new commercials SCSU is airing on cable and (I believe) some Twin Cities TV markets. We offer a number of videos about the school to prospective students. What are these selling? The university is spending a great deal of money trying to figure out how to sell itself better.