The competition for new students is fierce in the world of academia. It doesn't matter if you are talking about top universities or local community colleges. There are always colleges vying to gain the attention of students. Standing out in the crowd gets more difficult each year.
Think about the premise of direct marketing. You are sending out an offer to potential customers to try and entice them to buy your service or product. It’s not a general advertisement like a billboard on the side of the road. It is an advertisement sent directly to a person, usually based on demographics or past interest.