Brand Messaging: University admissions & financial aid staff

(Names have been changed to preserve client’s privacy.)

The Right Outcomes. The Right Way.
ABCD University Messaging Map

“The Right Outcomes”

An outcome is defined as something that happens as the result of an activity or process. At an educational institution, outcomes are things directly relatable to a student’s time there. At ABCD, we’re interested in “The Right Outcomes,” which we define as the results of a student’s time at ABCD that have contributed to preparing them to make a meaningful impact in the world.

“The Right Way”

The ways an institution achieves outcomes are as varied as the institutions themselves. At ABCD, we define “The Right Way” as relevant experiences that directly support a “Right Outcome” in a positive way.

The Right Outcomes—Career Preparation

How would you talk about ABCD’s approach to career preparation to a prospective student and/or parent?

When you begin looking for a job, you’ll be up against hundreds of other college graduates as well as people already in the workforce. How will you stand out in all that competition?

Throughout your career, you’ll be expected to adapt easily and keep a positive attitude. Will you be ready to face never-ending change?

ABCD creates avenues for learning inside and outside the classroom that prepare you to get and keep the job you want. We offer more hands-on opportunities than other colleges and let you participate in them sooner—so you’ll start building experience and adaptability in your first semester that won’t stop until you get your diploma.

Of course, you’ll get the best results when you are actively engaged in planning your courses and activities around the skills you want to develop. Then, as you move down your career path and change jobs, you’ll have faculty and alumni who can advise you at every fork in the road.

Supporting data/information

  • Hands-on learning engages students and gives them experience that makes them stand out from other job candidates. They graduate as better-prepared, confident potential employees who get hired sooner than other graduates—and usually in their first choice of jobs.
  • More than 85 percent of the workforce will be competing with students for jobs, so the ability to differentiate oneself is key. Hands-on learning opportunities begin during the very first year at ABCD, so students graduate with four years of actual experience on their resumes.
  • ABCD partners with more than 2,000 companies eager to hire students for internships.
  • ABCD graduates start their careers sooner than others—in fact, 95 percent within six months—because we develop well-rounded people with creative minds and the ability to make informed decisions.
  • Studies show students are three times more likely to thrive after graduation when they’ve felt their professors genuinely cared about them. With just 12 students to every one professor and the caring, involved administrators and staff at ABCD, student are more than prepared to excel at work.
  • Nationally, 98 percent of families agree that a college education is an investment in their student’s future—and 84 percent of those strongly An education within the ABCD experience increases your return on investment exponentially.

The Right Outcomes—Overall Well-being

How would you talk about ABCD’s concern for students’ overall well being to a prospective student and/or parent?

Studies show that students who feel their professors care, act as mentors, and make them excited about learning are nearly three times more likely to thrive as adults than those who didn’t have their support. ABCD’s emphasis on faculty-student relationships is unsurpassed.

We purposefully recruit educators who want to be lifelong mentors to their students. You’ll soon realize you have a trusted adult nearby in one or more of your professors who is ready and eager to help.

The high level of community engagement at ABCD means you’ll develop a mindset of caring for those around you, which is a habit proven to make people happier.

Of course, students’ health and safety is one of our most significant concerns. You’ll stay healthy mentally, physically, and emotionally if you take advantage of the many resources available to keep you that way.

We also count on each and every one of you to be an active partner in our efforts. At Commencement, University President John Doe asks all incoming students to pledge to look out for and help each other. It’s part of what we call our Community of C.A.R.E., which empowers every person to engage in and foster healthy behaviors.

Supporting data/information

  • We present hands-on experiences starting from day one. These get students working together in and out of the classroom right away.
  • Your student will have every chance to make friends: More than nine of every 10 of students are involved in campus group activities, and more than 150 student activity groups are eager for new members.
  • Every single ABCD student takes a community-engagement course, and 94 percent are involved in some other sort of volunteer experience while they’re here. They get into a habit of helping others that boosts their self-esteem, broadens their perspectives, and keeps them happier and healthier.

The Right Outcomes—Lifelong Learners

How would you talk about lifelong learning to a prospective student and/or parent?

We build all ABCD degrees on a foundation of liberal arts—courses like Global and Historical Studies, and Perspectives in the Creative Arts. Not every university takes this approach, but we have created a curriculum to develop your ability to think critically and communicate effectively.

And you’ll find we’ve merely whetted your appetite for knowledge. An ability to think broadly and apply knowledge meaningfully will likely turn you into an eager learner for life.

You also will have established relationships with professors who you can continue to call on for advice on continuing your education, whether formally or informally and whether or not directly related to your career.

Supporting data/information

  • Through all the hands-on opportunities we offer, ABCD students interact with diverse individuals every day and in many team-oriented situations, which prepares them for today’s workforce. Students often come to college never having worked this closely with someone who’s not like them.
  • The personal time our professors spend with students (our low faculty-to-student ratio of 12 to 1 means they can do that) often translates into a desire to attend grad school or continue learning later in their adult life. Faculty mentors respond to students’ calls a year, five years, even 10 or 20 years after graduation.
  • Our alumni networks across the country are made up of former ABCD students who want to stay in contact and serve as resources for each other. Your student will be able to get tried-and-true career and life advice no matter what the question!

The Right Outcomes—Broad Network

How would you talk about ABCD’s contributions to and the benefits of a broad network to a prospective student and/or parent?

Our small class sizes—12 students to every one professor—means everyone in a class knows everyone else. You’ll naturally form a broad network of contacts and references that you’ll find valuable well beyond graduation.

“The ABCD Way” is a phrase we use to describe how we conduct ourselves here; it means we’re committed to working hard, helping others, and learning how to improve together. You can’t live this way without forming peer relationships that will extend your networking efforts sixfold.

Many ABCD alumni remain passionate about and connected to their alma mater; they stay in contact with and serve as resources for each. You’ll be able to get answers and opinions on any question from people who live “The ABCD Way” long after graduation.

Supporting data/information

  • ABCD students develop a community-service mentality that stays with them all their lives. Alumni chapters regularly volunteer for nonprofit organizations, improve an environment, or just help someone in need, so they can often share contacts in communities where you want to live or work.
  • Our alumni networks are made up of former ABCD students who want to stay in contact and serve as resources for each other. Your student will have an instant, ready-made network for getting tried-and-true advice no matter what the question!
  • ABCD professors have helped former students secure positions five and 10 years after graduation. Their interest in your success doesn’t end when you get your diploma.

The Right Way—Experiential (Hands-on) Learning

How would you talk about the value of experiential, or hands-on, learning opportunities to a prospective student and/or parent?

We consider hands-on learning as the key to becoming the type of student who is excited about college, gets more from every course, and graduates prepared to be agile and confident employees and people.

To that end, we make these learning opportunities a vital part of each and every decision we make about curriculum and faculty. We hire professors who want to deliver an experience, not just a lecture, to their students. We design courses that get students into hands-on learning situations from the very start of their academic career—long before almost every other university—to the very end.

Through internships, service-learning projects, community volunteer work, and nationally recognized conferences, ABCD students can amass hours of real-world experience that positions them way ahead of their competitors in the job search. Our students start their careers sooner than graduates of other colleges (95 percent within six months) because at ABCD, they become well-rounded adults with the experience and confidence to make informed decisions.

Supporting data/information

  • All ABCD undergraduates complete the Indianapolis Community Requirement, or ICR, that involves a minimum of 20 hours of active engagement with community organizations. Students gain experience working with individuals of different social, racial, economic, and religious backgrounds and ages from their own, which leave them better prepared for any organization they might join.
  • We carefully select our service-learning experiences to complement each course’s classroom learning. They help to internalize a student’s understanding of the ideas covered in class in a way that lectures alone simply can’t do.
  • Adding to their hands-on learning experiences through their coursework, 91 percent of our students also take part in student teaching, clinical rotation, undergraduate research, service-learning, or an internship—making them even more valuable to potential employers.
  • All ABCD degrees are built on a foundation of liberal arts—courses like Global and Historical Studies, and Perspectives in the Creative Arts. Not every university takes this approach, but we know this type of curriculum helps students develop the ability to think critically and express themselves effectively.
  • The annual ABCD Undergraduate Research Conference (URC), Undergraduate Student Research Program, and ABCD Summer Institute are opportunities for students to dive deeply into thought-provoking issues alongside faculty mentors and present their work in professional outlets.
  • Our hands-on learning opportunities range from volunteer work in the community for its own sake to service-learning projects that expand students’ coursework to meaningful internships with companies and nonprofits of all types and sizes.
  • Each college within the University establishes close working relationships with relevant organizations to benefit its students. Many of our internships result in job offers even before students graduate. In some schools like the College of Business, such multinational companies as PwC recruit from ABCD more than any other Indiana university.
  • As the 14th-largest city in the U.S. and the “No. 1 Best City for College Graduates” (, Indianapolis has much to offer, and ABCD plays a huge role in the life of the city. We partner with local businesses large and small, so you’ll have incredible opportunities for internships, job shadowing, and other hands-on learning experiences to help you explore your future career.

The Right Way—Quality Academics

How would you talk about the quality of ABCD’s academics to a prospective student and/or parent?

Professors can be some of the most influential figures you will ever meet. The ability of students to actually access professors and the extent to which a school encourages students and faculty to collaborate are two factors recognized as leading to undergraduate success.

ABCD intentionally hires faculty who are interested in getting to know students personally and working closely with them. Our goal is to deliver a transformative student-centered learning experience, and we can’t do that without the most dedicated professors and supporting staff.

We also firmly believe that a broad-based liberal arts education is key to the collaborative and nuanced problem-solving abilities required in today’s interconnected and highly competitive world. That’s why at ABCD, every student gains a foundation in the liberal arts—it helps them study better, think more creatively, communicate more effectively, and examine the world with a more critical and discerning eye.

A student who holds a degree in any field that has been built on a solid foundation of liberal arts and hands-on learning will be a well-rounded and more confident adult.

Supporting data/information

  • At its core, ABCD is about ensuring our faculty delivers excellent educational experiences that transform students. More than 500 faculty and academic staff are devoted to this mission. Only professors teach classes at ABCD; students never have a class taught by a teaching assistant.
  • In 2015, S. News & World Report ranked ABCD as one of just seven universities recognized for Best Undergraduate Teaching. Our inclusion is significant because the category reflects the quality of academics offered at ABCD and the student experience with them. We also tied for first place as the Most Innovative School among Midwest Regional Universities and were one of 15 listed as a Best Value School, both of which further reflect the engaged, dedicated nature of our faculty.
  • A broad-based liberal arts education is key to the collaborative and nuanced problem solving required in today’s interconnected and highly competitive world. At ABCD, every student gains a foundation in the liberal arts that helps them study better, communicate more effectively, and examine the world with a more discerning eye.
  • No one is better equipped to build cultural bridges and develop plans for peaceful coexistence than those trained in the liberal arts. They have the ability to identify and solve problems through critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership that inspires.
  • Our faculty-to-student ratio of 12:1 means professors will know every student’s name, interests, and career aspirations. And everyone in the class will get to know each other, too. This small class size means more time for individualized attention and projects related to each student’s specific areas of focus.
  • ABCD’s 110 study-abroad and exchange programs focus either on a certain academic area or are tailored to your specific interests. You can earn credits while you take short classes with the ABCD professor in your group, or by spending a semester with college students in Washington, DC. A third of ABCD students have a study-abroad experience at ABCD, making us 15th in the nation for participation among similar schools.

The Right Way—Broad Perspectives

How would you talk about the advantage of gaining broad perspectives to a prospective student and/or parent?

ABCD University was founded in 1855 by attorney and abolitionist Ovid ABCD on the principle that everyone deserves an excellent education regardless of race or gender. He believed experience is the best teacher, a love of learning prepares you for success no matter what you do, and anyone can achieve greatness if they’re willing to put in the effort.

In an America that would divide against itself over the issue of equality a scant five years later, these bold words went beyond tolerance. They reflected broad and open perspectives that ABCD University instills in its students yet today.

This philosophy is why every ABCD student builds an education on a foundation of liberal arts. By definition, courses in the liberal arts—language, philosophy, literature, abstract science—are intended to develop general intellectual capacities such as reason and judgment that serve and enhance an individual in every part of life.

ABCD also gives students numerous options for studying abroad. In many cases, this will be the first time they’ve ever experienced another culture.

Once people are exposed to a broader world than the one they know, compassion and understanding follow.

Supporting data/information

  • Our philosophy came to be called The ABCD Way when famed coach and teacher Tony Hinkle said it “demands commitment, denies selfishness, accepts reality, yet seeks improvement everyday while putting the team above self.” These timeless values engender an authenticity of character and a sincerity of intent that inform the decisions of everyone at ABCD, from our Board of Trustees and President to our professors, staff, and students.
  • One of the most significant ways we’ve build on our founder’s vision is to create a community of students and faculty that learn together by doing together. In the many hands-on learning situations students will find, they’ll discover that working with people of diverse backgrounds—in education, ethnicity, age, habits, likes and dislikes, working and studying styles—replaces most preconceived ideas with personal truths that will heighten their effectiveness at work (and open them up to unexpectedly deep friendships).
  • ABCD University tied for first place as the Most Innovative School among Midwest Regional Universities as ranked by S. News & World Report in 2015. We could earn that honor only by having students and faculty who can identify problems and envision solutions that others cannot.
  • President John Doe established the ABCD Innovation Fund in his first few months in office to underscore the University’s encouragement of broad-based ideas and cross-college faculty-student collaborations. As of fall 2015, we’ve funded 38 projects ranging from a gaming lab to a student geriatric outreach program to an advanced entrepreneurship training course for female business owners, and everything in between.