Gaining name recognition is important so companies, institutions, and individuals adopt numerous strategies to do so. One strategy is excelling in a field and attracting attention because of the quality of your work. Another is associating yourself with famous partners and advertising your achievement in making such associations, thus leading people to believe that you must be special.
Universities these days seem to be tilted towards the latter strategy in building their reputations. They are eager to show what they have achieved by whom they are partners with. For example, in September,
A glance at the news section of Ewha’s website presents a similar case as it is filled with our school president’s interviews with the media touting special lectures by renowned scholars and the signing of agreements with institutions.
Despite the benefits these achievements may bring, it is disappointing to see this marketing strategy seeping into the sphere of education. For all the sparkling names the universities struggle to add to their lists, since when did the prestige of a university become equivalent to the number of projects it launched?
As much as visible achievements are important, universities should also build their reputation with more future-oriented, long-term plans, including those which do not always provide quick results or sound grand from the beginning. After all, the Ewha today which 20,000 students attend began with a single student, not with a plan to recruit the most brilliant students or teachers.
The college entrance exam is nearing. High school students will be visiting the websites of universities and they might be fascinated at the fact that Ewha has signed numerous agreements with prestigious foreign schools and institutions, and invites significant figures to lecture at Ewha.
But this effect will be short-lived. Students will be more interested in everyday school life.
Also, won’t international students in the exchange programs be more interested in what Ewha is and has done for itself, not in what it has done to make famous connections abroad? It would be disappointing if students coming to Ewha, whether they be fresh high school graduates or exchange students, realize that they have “judged the book by its cover” and come to Ewha for the wrong reasons.
Although Ewha should not totally give up its current advertising strategy, it should also keep in mind the other strategy of attracting students and gaining a reputation by focusing from within. If we enhance the quality of our programs and curriculum, the rest will follow. The name of Ewha will speak for itself.