What’s the Opposite of Admission? Public Relations for Accreditation
What is the opposite of admission? Some say it’s a free lunch. Some say it’s a test. Some say it’s both. The College Board and other organization have given the phrase “what is the opposite of admission” a variety of different definitions over the years.
There are times when a free lunch sounds like an appealing idea. Let’s say a University or College invites a series of new students who haven’t shown an ability to pay for the tuition and then offers them a free meal. Is this really an admission offer? Of course not. If the University was offering a free meal to someone with poor grades, then yes, that would be considered an admission. But, what about someone who is smart but needs some extra money to go to college?
There are various public relations efforts on the part of colleges and universities across the country to deal with this question. Some schools try to use a form of cookie dough fundraising to lure in good students who will eventually contribute more funds to the school. Some go so far as to change the name of the campus to match the name of a popular soap opera. (The University of Virginia is known by the name of “Grounds”. It has also been named the site of one of the most dramatic episodes in television history.)
Some people believe that the answer to the question of what’s the opposite of admission is too obvious to be discussed in this article. That is, what is the public perception of higher education. Is it better to give more money to well-off families to give better academic preparation for their children? Is it important to create more selective public schools that can serve all students? These are questions that have been debated by educators and policy makers for decades.
Perhaps no area of higher education is more critical to maintaining our country’s economic strength than the issue of public relations. It’s been an ongoing battle between educational institutions trying to maintain the respect of students and parents who feel they have received less value from their children’s educational opportunities. Is it better to address problems with administrators or faculty, or with parents? What is the best way for educational institutions to respond to dissatisfied parents and provide a quality education?
An increasingly relevant issue in the current era is that of higher education in the digital age. What is the opposite of an accredited online degree? Is it simply being unable to compete with virtual colleges offering the same courses at lower prices? Is it true that some employers actually require that candidates who apply for jobs in their schools submit proof of their degree or other acceptable credentials? And if so, where do those employers find these graduates?
One emerging idea for addressing the lack of trust in higher education is to increase openness and transparency of the processes by which accreditations are given and reviewed. Currently, most universities and colleges rely on a system of self-imposed restrictions that effectively keep open any educational opportunities not related to the well-being of public image. This secrecy not only makes it difficult to establish what’s the opposite of admission, it also increases administrative burdens and serves to hinder meaningful reforms.
A good place to start would be to consider what exactly it is that public relations specialists do. Public relations efforts can certainly play a part in the ongoing effort to raise the standard of education for all. In this type of work, students and their parents are often targeted because of their community’s perceived failure to meet academic standards. By promoting a positive image of higher education and pointing out the many benefits that accreditation provides, the PR specialist can help change attitudes and behaviors that may be resistant to outside influence. The results of such efforts may not be immediate, but they will surely have a long-term impact.