How To Get An Idea Implemented

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Full Metal Bulldog, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    If I were to say that I had a really good idea or two (the main one that I really want to bring up is admissions and public affairs related) that I would want to discuss with someone that has a say-so at my school, how would I go about doing so in both an assertive yet respectful way? How would I convince people that my idea would be money-well-spent in the long run?
     
  2. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    High school or college?

    Public affairs offices tend to be (and should be) fairly open and receptive to communications.

    Are you planning on sharing the idea with us too, or is it a secret?
     
  3. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    Lol, it's definitely college. And it isn't a secret, but I could see some alumni taking my idea as seeming "ungrateful" to my alma mater. It'll be on here soon enough depending on the responses I receive on this thread.
     
  4. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Honestly, I would give the public affairs office a call and ask if you can come down to talk to them about an idea you have. It's college and it's the summer, surely they aren't TOO busy.
     
  5. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    Make sure you REALLY think through your good ideas and think of the pros/cons from all views, not just yours. Think of the impacts to your ideas -- what does it cost? Human capital/manpower, $$$, logistics, etc. (not necessarily all or any apply) -- these are questions that you should have some idea on how will affect your ideas (not necessarily the brain power to formulate all/any solutions).

    In other words, I wouldn't just show up with a problem without giving some serious thought to a solution and possible alternatives, what the impacts are, and either internal/external constraints.
     
  6. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    Talk to someone you know who can help you work through some of the issues usnabgo08 mentioned. Someone who can see any other areas that you may not have thought of and who can challenge your assumptions and look through everything you have an help you organize your ideas in a clear and concise manner.

    The more you can do the research for them and answer their questions up front the more likely you will get a sympathetic ear. This applies everywhere ... public/private sectors and military.
     
  7. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Figure out how, in 30 seconds, you can convey that it will cost them nothing and will lead them to fame and fortune! They probably won't say no.
     
  8. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    BLUF ... Bottom Line Up Front. Learn it, Live it, Love it!
     
  9. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    Alright, I think now's the time to tell ya'll just what I'm trying to do. Basically, when it comes to college admissions, first impressions are everything, right? This is true both for the college and prospective student, correct? And most students apply to similar schools, agree? When it comes to SMC's and FSA's, many of these schools are dealing with a similar and many times identical pool of applicants, and I would say that 99.9% of the time these guys and gals applying to these schools are very competitive and sought-after students.

    So, when the day comes and one of these potential cadets, who is usually somewhat versed in the esteemed lore and history of these institutions, and very excited to see who will admit them beyond their gates, finds the corresponding acceptance letters, the "first impression" occurs. The Federal Academies send awesome leather-bound folders and books, laminated with all sorts of elaborate crests and high-resolution pictures. The accepted applicant's full name is inscribed on these very large acceptance folders in an almost cinematic presentation. The SMC's VMI and Norwich do something very similar. North Georgia sends a very elaborate folder that's almost as good as the ones described previously. I'm sure Texas A&M is somewhere within those previously described acceptance letters.

    However, The Citadel sends a plain envelope with a letter that says "congrats, you're accepted". It's presentationally disappointing, and looks really half-hearted when displayed alongside it's competitors (which happens a lot more than you think, I'd like to see the stats of who applies to both The Citadel and VMI, for example. I'm sure more than one proud high school graduate or more likely their parents has displayed DS/DD's acceptance letters for all the world to see).

    I think this is a chance for The Citadel to shine. I doubt it'll be expensive, I'm sure there is a local paper/parchment company that would love the opportunity to do something like that for a very fair price. I think this first impression is paramount to attracting prospective cadets who are both competitive for and applying to rival schools. The Citadel could easily make their acceptance package something that would just blow people away. Or at least something better than just a plain envelope and letter........

    Please feel free to criticize my idea.
     
  10. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I don't disagree with the general idea. The question I would ask... does the Citadel want someone who is going to be swayed by the delivery method of the letter? Maybe they do. Maybe the other schools benefit from it. From my own experience, I had decided long before the letter came, but I think the service academies are also mailing you things is far less pretty packaging before any acceptance letters make their final impact.

    That said, I don't doubt that a nice folder does convey a professionalism that likely helps some applicants make the hard decision. I don't think this falls in the public affairs office's shop, although you are thinking about it was a very PR focused mind. I would guess the money would come out of the Admissions office's pot.

    Good luck!
     
  11. nuensis

    nuensis USNA 2016

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    Well, Norwich gives a little bit of paper too. Not all too great.

    The "You are medically disqualified from military service...good luck in your future endeavors..." letters from DoDMERB were also not too nice.

    As a candidate, I found I didn't care so much about the actual folder as much as what it stood for.

    But on the other hand, seeing a senior from their high school get a nice shiny folder from a service academy during senior awards night might have encouraged some hopeful freshmen and sophomores to look into Academy/ROTC. That was also me, back when I was a high school freshman. I learned about the Citadel and Norwich from two seniors who were accepted.

    Isn't that why NROTC gives out those huge cardboard checks?

    If not to sway accepted candidates who are deciding between schools, how about to garner interest from bright-eyed freshmen with great potential?
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2013
  12. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty Member

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    My two cents:

    1) If it's a great idea now, it'll be a great idea after you've graduated and put 500 miles or more between you and the school. If it's not a good idea, those 500 miles of distance may come in handy. We promise not to suggest it in the meantime.

    2) It probably would have made a difference with Patton, MacArthur maybe (if there was a decent hotel for his mom nearby), but probably not Ike.

    3) All's you're doing up is keeping up with the Joneses. Why not have a retired, beribboned general arrive with the letter in a coach and four?

    4) The leather presentation though elegant will be quite costly. I can probably get you a deal on tanned sheepskin.

    5) With all this free time for brainstorming, shouldn't you be doing some pushups?
     
  13. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Presentation matters. When I left the Coast Guard I joined a PR firm (for a short time) and worked on a DHS contract. My job offer from the PR firm came in an email (hey, I wanted a job, so I wasn't about to complain).

    It took about two months or so for the DHS office to grant me a minimal clearance (so I could work on a website) despite the fact that I came in with a top secret clearance from another DHS agency (the Coast Guard).

    When I got to the DHS office with the account I was working on, the idiot feds had no idea. Luckily, the person who processed everyone in worked remotely 3 out of 5 days each week (you might expect them to have someone else on location to process people in while that person was out... and you'd be disappoint... keep in mind this organization "protects" Americans).

    For two weeks I floated between desks of people who were out of the office, because they couldn't get their acts together long enough to find a desk for me. As soon as I found one (or as soon as I was told I had a desk, and set up my work area), I was kicked out in a turf war between GS-14s (maybe GS-15s).

    It took a month to get a DHS laptop and another month to get a token to remotely access that laptop.

    After about 4 months of this @#$% show, and a less than friendly PR team, I started to look elsewhere.

    And in no time (and the timing perfect) I was recruited to a different place by an old professor. I was called to come in and sign my offer letter, which was in a very nice leather folder. On my first day (orientation) my Blackberry was programmed and ready to go, my computer and email were up and running, and my office had a name plate... with my name on it.

    I knew it was a professional organization that had its #$%@ together. It was clear from the moment I stepped through the door, it was clear after I received my first email from them.

    I've been there or over a year.


    That initial taste will either make you happy or cause concern. A nice letter in a nice folder will likely leave a good taste in your mouth. It will be impressive to others and it will reflect well on the school its from. it may not be the first impression for the applicant (or maybe it is), but it's likely the first impression for those around him (including parents with $$).

    I don't think it's a bad idea.... in fact, I think it's pretty good.
     
  14. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    Thanks for everyone's suggestions, I'm definitely going to pitch this idea to the admissions and/or public affairs department once school starts back up. :)
     
  15. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Good luck! :thumb: Let us know how it works out. However, have you ever read about Don Quixote? But then again where would we be without our Don Quixotes? In any case it will be a learning experience for you.
     
  16. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    I appreciate your passion and enthusiasm here.

    Recommend you consider making a mock up and even go so far as to get some quotes/ estimates on costs. Remember the additional postage, etc.

    You are challing the status quo. More than likely, someone has signed off on the current process and sees nothing wrong with it. Thus you are challenging that person. Go into the presentation aware of that and be empathetic. If nothing else, you may experience a "resistance to change".

    Sometimes it helps to have "pre-sold" an idea to constituents. Parent organization, Student Government, Alumni Board, etc. Not to pressure someone into a decision but to build an early consensus.

    Good luck
     
  17. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Devil's advocate here.

    If I were setting on the committee I would have some financial questions for you.

    1. Let's assume it is 20 bucks for each, including mailing.
    ~~~~ Have you calculated the cost for all of the applicants admitted? What is the matriculation rate? 40%, 50%, 60%?
    ~~~~ How do you justify the cost for the 60, 50, 40% that do not attend, if it is 1000 that do not matriculate at the cost of 20 bucks a pop? 20K is a part time staff member. That number is just for those that don't attend.
    ~~~~ If 3500 are offered admittance, you are looking at a cost of 70K. a yr. A full time staff member. As a cadet is that one pretty folder you and 3500 other applicants worth one or two less staff member in admission, bursar, library, janitorial services, etc?


    2. Have you looked at their operating budget? Or is this money going to come from the endowment fund?
    ~~~~ Citadel compared to most colleges has a small endowment fund. I.E. theirs is 200 MN, VMI is 330 MN.
    ~~~~ Where will you suggest to take that funding from?

    3.As others have stated, isn't this more like keeping up with the Joneses?
    ~~~~ You obviously got the thin Congrats letter, but still matriculated. I don't know if you applied to other SMCs, but if you did, and you got the pretty folders, why did you opt the Citadel over them?
    ~~~~ Can you answer that question? Honestly, colleges, even SMCs are businesses too. You need to prove to them why that cost will result in gains compared to not paying that cost. I am not sure as a cadet you can sell that.

    Personally, I think your idea is great, but I doubt you are the 1st to come up with it. You however, maybe the 1st to get it through if you can answer why the cost is important.

    The Citadel is 40K+ a yr for an OOS cadet. Have you thought about how it could also impact the amount given for merit scholarships? As a parent of 3 college students (1 graduated 12, 1 at VT 14, and 1 2016), I would prefer that my costs due in Aug get the benefit than a folder at HS ceremony night.

    OBTW, our eldest that was AFROTC scholarship. He got the pretty folder at his HS ceremony for his presentation. Don't ask me where it is at, he didn't take it off to college, and I probably pitched it last yr when he got the important blue leather folder....AF commissioning.

    Not trying to be rude, but when you commission is 3 yrs. That Citadel folder will play 2nd and 3rd fiddle to your Citadel diploma, and your Army Commissioning. In 5 yrs from commissioning you won't have enough room on your I LOVE ME WALL/ROOM for that certificate. Nor will you want it to go against your PCS weight allowance.

    This maybe a reason the Citadel doesn't do it. They may see it as a cost benefit analysis with no benefit for the cost.
     
  18. Packer

    Packer Member

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    OK Pima, suppose the applicant gets two acceptances, one to the Citadel and one to VMI. He/She is really on the fence between the two schools. VMI provides a really nice acceptance folder and the Citadel just a plain old letter. Hey it looks like VMI really wants me but the Citadel says you can come if you want. I think I will go to VMI and give them my $40,000/yr OOS.

    Bulldog, my recollection is that my son's acceptance from TAMU was just a plain old letter too but the one from VMI was pretty nice. I thougt the VMI one was pretty cool but did recognize it as recruiting. I don't think my son cared what it looked like.
     
  19. JMS

    JMS Member

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    It seems to me the OP's idea was not so much for the minimal value of impressing/swaying new admits or their parents, but rather to have the institution put a 'more better' image out there to the public at large. That is, to all the people to whom the parents show the acceptance letter as they proudly have going away parties, etc.
    I think it has merit.
     
  20. Packer

    Packer Member

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    I agree.
     

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