College brochure clichés 101

Overwrought platitudes? Or authentic testament to our splendor?

We know universities send you a lot of mail with glossy photos and upbeat slogans. We know the ivy-laced halls and lush lawns start to blur together. One or two of you might even roll your eyes at the beautiful brochures and postcards we work so hard to create for you.

That's fine. We get it. But know this much, young people: This is real life. We aren't buying stock art. We aren't setting up "scenes." Mizzou legitimately is (mostly) as idyllic as we suggest.

Let's break it all down with an explication of college-brochure clichés — plus an explanation of why Mizzou actually is this awesome (we say "awesome" because we're old).

Cliché No. 1: Three and a tree.
Students sitting under a tree

Studious and social!

Students lounging on a big lawn.

Actual reading spots.

This is the magic formula for student recruitment — and an acknowledged motif in higher education. Three happily studious friends gather in the shade of a great oak with a laptop and/or a textbook. It's a thing. And we stumble upon these scenes all the time IRL.Our entire campus is a designated botanic garden with multitudinous outdoor gathering spots and cozy nooks. It's pretty inviting. No, the weather isn't always perfect. But when the sun is shining, the Quad is a delight.

Cliché No. 2: Everyone dressed in university logos and colors.
Students in body paint cheering in the bleachers at a football game.

So much school spirit.

Lots of stuents in Mizzou gear.

All the black and gold.

As clichés go, this is the realest of the real. Thousands of people wear black and gold and/or "Mizzou"-emblazoned attire all day every day here. In class. In dining halls. At football games. Off campus. In other parts of the world. It's how we recognize one another after we've graduated or when we're traveling during spring break. We are hardcore about the school spirit. You'll get used to it.

Cliché No. 3: Students in lab coats tinkering with important-looking test tubes.
Student working in a lab with test tubes.

Actual science in progress.

Students toiling in labs.

So many test tubes.

Not every Mizzou building is this sciencey, and our students aren't always so impeccably groomed. But Mizzou does offer scads of chances to learn in super-cool labs. We have an Undergraduate Research Program, and if you get involved with it, you can work as a lab assistant or even study things like salamander limb regeneration and plant defense compounds. If that's your thing. This is an unusual offering for undergraduates. We also have tons of hands-on learning options outside the sciences — like a real NBC-affiliate TV station and a professional ad agency.

Cliché No. 4: Multiculti friendships.
Students sitting on a bed

Actual friends.

Collage of international and multiracial students.

Genuine diversity.

No, we are not the most diverse university in the world. But at Mizzou you can meet people from every county in the state, every state in the nation and 110 countries in the world. More than 5,200 Mizzou students here identify as non-white. More than 3,000 come from outside the U.S. More than 1,000 register with the Disability Center every year. We have multicultural centers and resources to support all students. We have huge celebrations of black culture, Indian culture, Chinese culture and LGBTQ culture. We even have a Canadian Studies program. We also have a new orientation program, Citizenship@Mizzou, to introduce Mizzou values and immerse new Tigers in the multifaceted community. A huge part of higher education is learning from people who are different from you. We try to help make that happen.

Cliché No. 5: Super-famous alumni.
Sheryl Crow

Nine-time Grammy winner Sheryl Crow, BS Ed '84.

Photos of alumni.

Alumni with cool jobs.

We love Jon Hamm and Sheryl Crow. Love them. They come back to Missouri to visit their parents. They're huge Mizzou supporters. They're super nice. But you probably won't meet them on campus, and your career is unlikely to follow the same trajectory. Know who you can meet? Astronaut Linda Godwin. She was the second woman to earn a PhD in physics at Mizzou and the fourth woman to walk in space. Now she teaches astronomy here. Barry Odom earned two degrees at Mizzou, and now he's our head football coach. You'll see him at all the games. You'll also meet new and long-time alumni who love Mizzou so much that they who devote their time to networking with students and contributing to campus. Lots of them have great jobs, at places like The New York Times and Boeing.

Cliché No. 6: Ridiculous facilities.
Mizzou Rec pool

Just one of three pools in MizzouRec.

Workout facilities.


You're all, "Oh, sure. This is photo of your campus and not a fancy resort." But it's totally legit. This is our actual student rec center — for all students, not just student athletes (we have cool facilities for them too). MizzouRec is a place where you can work out, hang out, float around or even sit in a leather chair and study while surrounded by faux palm trees. It's pretty nice.

Cliche No. 7: Hashtags.
Students in Mizzou gear with the hashtag #MIZYOU across the photo.

Yes, it's a hashtag, but it isn't just a hashtag.

We won't make you use our hashtags. We're not your creepy uncle trying to be down with the lingo. Yes, we want you to use them, in a show of genuine enthusiasm, but we won't push it. We probably will, however, insist that you get on board with the M-I-Z, Z-O-U chant. A chant is like an in-person, vocal hashtag from back in the day. Ours has been a big call-and-response tradition since the 1970s. But it also works as a hashtag. Like, you post #MIZ! And someone responds with #ZOU! It's fun. (Watch this recent video of Jon Hamm Z-O-Uing with a fellow Tiger; it's pretty great.)

Cliche No. 8: Dream/life/future slogans.
word cloud

College admissions slogan word cloud.

Lots of universities are telling you to follow your dreams, create your future, reinvent your life, etc., etc. These are all actual things you can do with higher education. And you know what? It's hard to condense infinite educational possibilities into, like, four words, so yeah, there might be some repetition in your pile of college brochures. Someone even made a poem from college taglines. Our own MIZ-YOU campaign's focus on personalized/individualized education is not revolutionary. But we back it up. You can tailor your education to your own interests. You can choose from 300+ degree programs or make up your own. You can join any of our 700 student organizations. That's real. It's a real-life dreamy future all about you.

Behold our Magnificence

You don‘t have to take our word for it. Come and see Mizzou for yourselves »

Subscribe to

Show Me Mizzou

Stay up-to-date with the latest news by subscribing to the Show Me Mizzou newsletter.