Tuesday, August 7, 2012

College Swag: How to Get it and What to Do With it

Recently I have received a lot of emails regarding college promotional materials. Some school counselors want to know what to do with the materials they have. Others want to know how to get colleges to send them some swag!

Last night a School Counselor Blog Facebook Fan from Georgia shared that her son's high school has college banners displayed on the ceiling of their cafeteria. It is an awe-inducing site...

If you work at this high school we all want to know how you got all of these banners!!! :)

In the most recent School Counselor SpotlightJeremy Goldman, a high school counselor in Maryland, shared how he displays college stickers in his office.  This is a great conversation starter for students and helps them become familiar with colleges they may have never heard of! 

Jeremy purchases college stickers everywhere he goes! Students have also brought him back stickers when they go on college visits. 

Awhile back I shared that I was requesting pennants from colleges and universities.  I also had the idea to ask one of the high school counselors in my district for help.

Here is what my pennant display started out like this...

I created the "All Students College and Career Ready" banner pictured using VistaPrint.
You can order the same one pre-designed in the School Counselor Blog Store.

As I received more pennants it kept growing...

and growing...

(I apologize for this somewhat blurry one... I had to crop some kids out of it!) ;) 

It was amazing how fast the space began to get covered. 

How I Got Swag and How You Can Too!
My dad always says, "You don't get what you don't ask for." I take this message to heart.  So to get the pennants I displayed, I called and emailed college admissions offices.  I also found a high school counselor who was willing to share his unwanted pennants with me. 

When I called or emailed college admissions offices I explained that I wanted to display the pennants to promote college and career readiness to students. I worked in a K-8 building and I explained to them that I wanted to expose elementary school students to college and careers as early as possible.  The colleges I contacted were happy to help and I received materials within a few days or weeks.

Some colleges went above and beyond and sent me way more than just pennants. I received all kinds of things including t-shirts, bracelets, backpacks, pens, pins, keychains, and stickers.  I used the additional items I received as prizes for various things including during my College and Career Themed Red Ribbon week

I recommend starting out with local colleges and universities and work your way out.  I also recommend contacting high school counselors in your district or your area to see if they have working relationships with admissions representatives who could help you out.  You can also attend local college and career fairs and request information (and freebies!) at their booths. I forgot to mention I got a few of my banners at my state school counseling association conference! 

This may go without saying, but I am still going to say it anyway, it is NEVER too early to start exposing students to college information. So, if you are an elementary or middle school counselor reading this these ideas would totally benefit your students! :) 

How do you get college swag? What do you do with it once you have it? I'd love to hear your ideas and see pictures if you have them! 

Comment below, tweetcontact Danielle, or share on the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page!

Danielle is a K-12 Certified School Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and blogger at School Counselor Blog, a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lesson plans, and quality resources. Connect with Danielle via emailTwitter, PinterestLinkedInGoogle+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.


  1. I'm a High School Counselor and we ask for college pennants and post them up and down our hallway above our offices. My plan is to go around the whole office with them. The Admissions folks are really willing to send us one once we explained what we are doing.

  2. I am a third grade teacher (almost finished with my Counseling degree... YAY!!) and our school recently adopted a new program, or mindset we like to say, No Excuses University from Turn Around Schools. Each classroom adopts a university and our students know that there are NO EXCUSES when it comes to going to college. We write to various offices at the univeristy and you would not believe how willing they are to send the students stuff. I have been overwhelmed with college gear for my classroom and my kiddos! It is amazing. If anyone is trying to get some college swag, type up an email and forward it to a bunch of different offices at the university. Admissions, the Presidents office, the Athletics dept, Alumni assoc, and the various colleges within the school were most helpful! We've gotten t-shirts, banners, posters, binders, pencils, key chains, omg... I cant even name it all. Thanks for your post... it reminds me I need to send a new email for this coming school year! :)

  3. Awesome @facebook-100000135861555:disqus! Once admission people know what you want the materials for they are more than willing to help! You are helping them accomplish their goal of getting information about their college out there! :) Good luck to you as you fill up your space! Feel free to post a picture here or on the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/schcounselor).

  4. Such a great idea to contact various departments, @88368ab9a377dcc984cf867c7151cc57:disqus! It is amazing the connections you can make if you just ask! Good luck this year in getting more materials that you need! Also CONGRATULATIONS on your counseling degree! Welcome to the field! :)

  5. This is such an important topic--especially for underprivileged kids who don't have any role models at home or in the community that went to college. It's never to early to expose children to positive messages they don't get on the homefront.

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Before I became an elementary counselor I spent two years at the high school level. There I started collecting magnets. They are great because they are small and they come in a variety of types. Some are simple, some are mascots, they show school spirit and a lot of them include the location of the school. Currently I keep them on my file cabinet. I must confess that I haven't collected too many since I switched levels but this post has definitely motivated me to get back to collecting :)

  7. Magnets are also a great idea @google-fb534a87f3747c9a5148c18ffb92c2aa:disqus! Thanks for sharing that! I would love for you to share a picture sometime if you can! I am glad this post motivated you to start collecting again! :)

  8. Thanks for the suggestions. I just sent out a ton of emails, and I'm hopeful I'll be successful. We have "college columns" in my school library and I want to add more, but I'd rather not pay the money for all of them!

  9. Awesome Ms. Book Lady! I am glad you found this post useful! It is much nicer to get things for free! :)


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