College Rises Above Competitive Higher Ed Application Landscape

Direct mail provided Paul Smith’s an imaginative way to reach potential students. This helped the college kindle relationships with prospective students to help them take the next step in applying.

Business Challenge

Established in 1946, Paul Smith's College is the only private college in the six-million-acre Adirondack Park. The college has a strong history of producing world-class chefs, wilderness guides, and hospitality experts. The challenge was to reach future students with a creative direct mail piece that would drive immediate action amid an extremely competitive educational environment where high school students receive hundreds of communications from colleges and universities.


We created a direct mail piece that set Paul Smith’s apart from its competitors, and spoke to the myriad of possibilities the college offers its students beyond the confines of its Adirondack campus. The postcards that our creative team designed and our content writers tailored kept things sweet and simple. 

When designing a direct mail advertisement, it is important to catch a consumer’s attention quickly. Therefore, we used stunning visuals as a backdrop on four variations of oversized postcards. Each card made a bold statement about the opportunities and possibilities available to students at Paul Smith’s and encouraged the recipient not to simply apply, but to imagine their future – to look beyond the task of selecting a major and to envision themselves pursuing their lifelong professional passions. 

Over the course of eight weeks, prospective students who had expressed interest in a particular academic major received only the corresponding postcard that matched their area of interest. All four cards were sent to students who were still undecided. Each postcard subtly encouraged recipients to apply through the college’s online application.

Paul Smith’s College
  • education
About Adworkshop

Adworkshop is an employee-owned integrated marketing agency providing strategic consulting and creative marketing solutions that help clients solve their evolving business challenges. Rooted in destination marketing from the 1980 Winter Olympic Games, Adworkshop has grown into an agency of 30+ talented employees whose expertise across marketing disciplines leads to innovative strategies and measurable results for destination marketing organizations, tourism businesses, active outdoor companies, educational institutions, health care companies, economic development agencies, and other businesses.

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