[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qapou-3-fM8]When I am grading papers, I really try to think deeply about the comments I am writing. I know some students will carry my words with them for a long time.
I won’t ever forget when a Bates professor wrote:
“Yes! Yes! but you are so damn wrong.”
The comment prompted me to learn why I was wrong, and 4 years later I was a Women Studies major. Who would’ve thought?
Recently I had another comment come my way that I suspect will forever remain top of mind.
“Your writing represents exactly the kind of writing we try to get our clients not to do.”
After hearing this feedback, it was like college all over again. I was motivated to learn why, and I was motivated to improve.
Like my recovery from misogyny, my recovery from “stilted” prep school talk is a process.I am still learning a lot, but I want to share one thing that I’ve developed that’s helped me improve my web writing for schools.
Tour, don’t sell.
Have you ever given someone a one-on-one tour of your school? If not, stop reading and go.If you have, write like you would talk while giving a school tour.
Talk about places.
Share real lived stories.
Have a conversation.
Ask some questions.
Don’t drone on and on.
If you don’t believe me, let’s hold an experiment.
Read what is currently on the library page of your school’s website. Now record what you would say to a prospective student about your library and transcribe the results.Show both to a freshmen, and ask which she/he prefers.Let me know.