Admissions Publications Renovated

By Angela Whited

For the first time in 15 years the admissions office has designed new search brochures to send prospective Macalester students in their junior year of high school. The search brochures, which arrived in January, are the first installment in the complete redesign of admissions materials that will continue over the next two years.

“I think our publications served us pretty well, but they do look dated, especially the Viewbook,” said Nancy Mackenzie, Assistant Dean of Admissions.

The new admissions communication materials were designed by Massachusetts-based Mark Edwards & Company. This company was selected by an on-campus advisory group comprised of ten administrative and staff members from advancement, finance, admissions, college relations, and the Dean of Students office. President Brian Rosenberg and Provost Diane Michelfelder also contributed.

“With ambitious students from all over the world, Macalester College challenges each to consider ideas from multiple perspectives, to be responsible global citizens, and to forge solutions to problems that the world faces today and will encounter tomorrow,” reads the positioning statement of the new admissions brochure. The statement was written by the advisory group in conjunction with the designers.

“Our goal is really to have students receive our publications, or go to our website, and when they come to Macalester, to feel they have found the place they read about,” Mackenzie said.

A writer was hired to meet with a group of faculty and two groups of students to discuss the college and get a better understanding of the college community. The design team then designed three distinct layouts which were tested on high school students in Washington D.C. and San Francisco.

“I think the people working on the publications have fallen in love with Macalester,” Mackenzie said.

The decision to hire out the production of the new admissions materials rather than to handle the project internally, in the college relations department for example, was due to staffing Mackenzie said.

“We’re not really staffed to do it here,” she said. “By going with someone like Mark Edwards we got a great deal.”

Mackenzie said some of the work that follows the brochure and Viewbook will be done by Macalester’s graphic designer, Kim David.

Despite the investment and planning that has gone into the production of new publications, it will be difficult for Admissions to determine the success of their new materials.
According to Mackenzie, the last redesign took place before the advent of the Internet. This allowed admissions to compare the number of students who responded to the search brochure after its redesign to the number of students who responded before.
“If next year we have no applications, I’ll be pretty sure we failed,” Mackenzie said. “I know we won’t ever really have hard data.”