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ERIC Number: EJ918462
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 25
ISSN: ISSN-0734-6670
Consumption, a Modern Affliction: Branding Culture, Youth Identity and College Admission
Tokuhama, Chris
Journal of College Admission, n210 p32-38 Win 2011
In order to understand the effects that consumer culture may have on modern youth, this article first traces a brief history of branding in the United States throughout the 20th Century to develop a context and precedent for the argument that the current generation of students applying to college has developed in a society saturated with branding, marketing and advertising. This environment has, in turn, allowed youth to conceptualize themselves as brands and to think of their projected images in terms of brand management. This article will then address the commoditization of the college applicant by examining the confluence of branding, society and the admission process. Looking at how and why branding affects modern culture, the article suggests that admission officers can unconsciously encourage students' dependence on the paradigm of branding (and its associated vocabulary) as they themselves come to rely on the ability of the framework created by branding culture to activate networks of associations that, in turn, further aid in readily understanding and conceptualizing applicants. To this end, the cognitive organizational function of branding as a type of narrative structure is explored. Further supporting this position, the article argues that latent biases in the college application process may also help to reinforce the high/low culture dichotomy by privileging particular kinds of actions and experiences over others. A trickle-down effect then encourages youth applying to college to adopt the language of branding in order to present themselves as ideal candidates for particular institutions, thus consecrating the importance of branding in the bidirectional relationship between students and institutions. (Contains 5 endnotes.)
National Association for College Admission Counseling. 1631 Prince Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-2818. Tel: 800-822-6285; Tel: 703-836-2222; Fax: 703-836-8015; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A