(No, not that kind of high…)

My family recently took our first trip to look at colleges for my son Sam, who is in 11th grade. The visits were eye-opening from a communications standpoint. 

One simple example: the student-led campus tour. On this front, UPenn was far superior to the other colleges we visited (which shall remain nameless, just in case Sam applies to them). Penn’s big innovation? Having the tour guides stand on a bench, ledge, or other raised spot every time they stopped to speak.

On the other campus tours, we had trouble seeing and hearing the guides because they didn’t stand above the crowd. To be clear, this wasn’t a case of one Penn tour guide taking initiative: ALL the Penn guides (we could see other tours in progress) made themselves visible at each stop. 

Making a strong first impression didn’t cost Penn anything; all it took was some critical thinking about the audience’s experience. A good reminder that sometimes a little thought and planning is all we need to rise above our competition.