outside of building
Writing Styles

Hints & Best Practices

After writing any communication, you’ll want to gut-check it. Here is a list of considerations.

3 Things To Aim For

  1. Strongly convey our vision.
    We value vision over tradition. Avoid looking backward; focus instead on what we’re doing right now, and what we’ll accomplish in the future.
  2. Balance competition and collaboration.
    We’re driven individuals, but we’re also part of a community. Make sure to focus on the open collaboration that happens once a student is accepted.
  3. Create strong calls to action.
    When we communicate, we’re looking for our audiences to take action— to donate, apply, or visit campus. Make it clear, simple, and compelling for your reader to do so.

3 Things To Avoid

  1. Don’t use the building as our foundation.
    Our IST building is a strong proof point for many of our offerings, but it shouldn’t always be our lead horse. Make sure to focus on benefits first, then support them with relevant proof points.
  2. Don’t water it down.
    We’re a pure STEM school, and we’re proud of it. Our voice and messaging may not be for everyone, and that’s okay.
  3. Don’t get stale.
    It’s in our DNA to change things up, so avoid using the same cadence or approach repeatedly. While we want to be consistent, we don’t want to be repetitive.

Best Practices

Getting our story down clearly and compellingly takes a combination of instinct and discipline. Good writing feels purposeful, intentional, and above all, believable. Here are several principles to keep in mind when crafting your next communication.

Know your audience.
There’s a world of difference between a transfer student and an alumnus, and what’s important to an international student is different still. Write to the reader’s experience and expectations, and your story will resonate more strongly.

Make headlines count.
An effective headline is as much an invitation as it is a declaration. It makes an undeniable appeal to the reader that goes far beyond labeling the content that follows.

Make copy sing.
Pay off your headline, get to the point, support it well, and finish strong. The goal is to get your reader all the way to the end. Reward them for their time.

Say one thing well.
People are busy. Attention spans are short (and getting shorter). Determine your one essential message, and stick to it. Mixed messages are seldom effective.

Make data matter.
Statistics, rankings, totals, and rates of success aren’t the story; they exist to help make your case to the reader. The numbers can add to your message, but they’ll never take the place of it.

Avoid clichés and jargon.
We are an institution like no other, and our work has meaning. Our language should never feel expected, and readers needn’t be insiders to identify with our story.

Make it about them.
Use the second-person “you” and “your” to engage and motivate the reader. Our brand platform defines us, but every piece you create is about the reader.

Speak to one person at a time.
Imagine you’re writing a letter to a friend or a loved one. It will naturally focus your message, and keep you honest in every sense.