INFOGRAPHIC: How an online student chooses your college

New roadmap uses current data to visualize how today’s online student chooses college, program

online-student-collegeIt’s not a new fact that the amount of students who either take a blended learning course or enroll in a fully online program are increasing at a rapid rate. But what are the criteria students use to choose an online college or program? And what marketing tactics resonate the best?

Thanks to increasing interest from colleges and universities eager to get a share of the online student pie, numerous reports are cropping up this year on the needs and interests of online students. (Read: “5 types of online learners could make or break your institution.”)

Now, a new large-scale study, “Online College Students 2014: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences,” released by Learning House and Aslanian Market Research, has been translated into a stunning infographic on the findings from the survey’s 1,500 former, current and future online students.

The infographic reveals how students make the decision to earn their degree online, what marketing messages appeal to them, what they want to study and why, and much more.

(Next page: Key findings; infographic)

According to the report, key findings include:

1. Online students are studying further away: 54 percent of students attend an institution within 100 miles of where they live, showing a 3-year trend of students increasingly willing to attend an institution farther from home.

2. Cost and financial aid important, but not critical: Although students reported that cost was a primary selection factor when choosing an online degree program, approximately two-thirds of respondents said they did not choose the most inexpensive program. Only 20 percent said they would not attend an institution if financial aid was not offered, although approximately half said they would need financial aid.

3. Job placement messaging resonates: When given a choice of 18 marketing messages, the overwhelming favorite was “90 percent job placement.” This makes sense, given that a large majority of students pursuing an online degree are doing so for job-related reasons.

4. Transfer credit makes a difference: Approximately 80 percent of students have earned credit elsewhere, and those students want to bring that credit with them. Having a clearly defined, generous, and easy-to-navigate transfer credit policy can help institutions stand apart.

For a larger view, click here.

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