I looked at the mission statements of the 25 most expensive boarding schools in the US and here is what I found

Wordle of 25 school mission statements with the words the, a, and student removed.

Wordle of 25 school mission statements with the words the, a, and student removed.

I think it's fair to say I'm obsessed with school mission statements. Sometimes there is a disconnect between the formal language of a mission statement and the unique institution it represents. This problem often persists in other forms of communication beyond the mission statement.

I recently had a conversation with a director of admission who illustrated this point nicely:

"When families get on campus they can feel how different we are."

I suspect this is true. I also suspect that you might have a hard time deciding if this mission statement belongs to you... or to one of your competitors:

"With a commitment to the highest academic, athletic, and artistic excellence, we prepare a diverse community of learners for a lifetime of service in a changing world."

Does it sound like your mission statement? It might... I ran 25 school mission statements through the word cloud generating tool Wordle and then used the results to write it!

Do you find the words you use to describe your institution don't do your unique, awesome, remarkable community justice? If so here are a few ideas that might help solve this problem.

  • Link your mission statement - Is your mission statement on your website? Do you have words like leadership, community or global in your mission statement? Link from those words to other pages on your site that illustrate and substantiate your claims.
  • Speak with a voice - Humans speak with a voice not with a press release. Try adapting your writing style to feel more like the institution you represent. Forbes wrote an interesting article on this a little while back.
  • Stop telling, start showing - Perhaps words aren't the best way to show how your school feels? Make a video that conveys how it feels at your school rather than information about your school. Videos made by students, featuring parents, or that is relatively unscripted can achieve this effectively.
  • Let others tell your story - Maybe you aren't the best person to tell your brand story. Let your parents and students talk about the school through real life events as well as through social media.

What do you think? How do you communicate the awesomeness that is your school? Let us know in the comments!