Infographics use collections of data displayed in a visually appealing way to tell a story. We’re seeing infographics used frequently in social media sites, advertising and the news media. In previous articles, we discussed how a notable aspect of your role as admission director is to tell a story when reporting data to your board. As the subject-matter expert, you are charged with analyzing that data and pulling out the most important information for your audience. Infographics are a great alternative way to bring out the highlights of your admission season and give your presentations a more contemporary, elevated feel.
(Most) admission directors are not professional designers. Investing a great deal of time in transforming your board reports into a full, impressive infographic is probably not in your wheelhouse. The examples we created here were done in Microsoft PowerPoint, a tool available to almost every admission director. Attend one of our upcoming webinars and receive a copy of our PowerPoint deck, including useful templates and icons to help you produce admission-related infographics. If you’re already a member of the Ravenna community of schools, reach out to Customer Success to receive a copy.
Uses for admission-related infographics
As a starting point, ask yourself this: what is the most important message you want your board to walk away with? Then consider: How do you build a story that communicates that message? What data do you have that would help you tell that story in a meaningful way? Especially, what data would elicit an emotional response? (By the way, adding a bit of humor can often be a good idea!)
For admission directors, there are three common uses for infographics:
1. To present a single topic/goal with evidence that supports that topic/goal (e.g., the schools’ investment in technology for the admission office has resulted in a better ability to enroll mission-appropriate students).
2. To display a collection of data points that present a big picture (e.g., profiling your new incoming class).
3. To do a comparison of two situations (e.g., last year’s admission results compared to this year’s).
Let’s take a look at examples of numbers one and two…
Example #1: presenting a single topic or goal
Infographics can be very useful if you are trying to summarize the benefits or effectiveness of a new admission campaign or process. Let’s say you invested in admission technology that allowed your office to move from a paper-based process to an online process (yes, a situation we’re very familiar with!). What do you want to convey to the board? What problems did you solve? What improvements and associated benefits did you see? What metrics do you have to support this?
This example is perfect for an infographic because with a few good metrics you can make an impactful presentation. First, the number of hours spent shuffling and tracking paper to put into folders went down significantly. Second, your team had extra hours available for direct outreach to students and families. Third, you had more time available in that small window for reading applications and committee work, which led to higher quality decision-making. And, finally, you think the extra touches you had with applicants and families along with the improved discussion during decision-making resulted in a higher yield. Below, these metrics are presented using bold, large numbers and interesting visual elements. We think it has much more impact than your typical bulleted list!
Example #2: data points that give a big-picture overview
Another frequent use of infographics is to display a collection of data points to present a big picture. Admission-related examples might include presenting overview stats on admission events, highlighting the effectiveness of your social media outreach, or presenting a profile of the new incoming class. An example of the latter is below:
Make sure to consider some key elements when building an infographic that will contain many data points:
– Present easily digestible “chunks” of data. Don’t try to put everything on one page.
– Leave white space to help make the design look visually appealing.
– Color is your friend. Use color to group data and to make your presentation interesting.
– Color can also be your enemy. Start with a pre-defined color palette, stick with it and don’t stray. Too many colors can be noisy, and colors outside your palette can disrupt the visual harmony.
If you’re interested in trying your hand at spicing up your board reports with some infographics and you are a Ravenna school, you can download this PowerPoint file from our Training site as part of the Board Reports course. If you are not currently a Ravenna school, sign up for one of our upcoming webinars and we will send you these PowerPoint examples. And if you’ve created your own infographics that you’re willing to share with others, we’d love to hear from you!