A new whitepaper breaks down 10 essential topics for helping campus websites draw in the next-generation of students in 2015.
Internship opportunities and alternative lifestyle information are just 2 of 10 topics a new whitepaper says are essential to a campus website that aims to boost student recruitment in 2015.
The whitepaper, released by The Kyle David Group, and titled Ten Elements Every College Website Should Have, takes an in-depth look at the challenges institutions are facing when recruiting new students.
Tips are given in detail to admissions staff that want to create a website that engages tech-savvy prospects and answers their questions about the school and the enrollment process in more creative ways than previous years.
“The demographic colleges and universities are trying to reach today have had Internet access their whole life, and many have had cell phones since they were 12 years old,” says Kyle David, founder and CEO of The Kyle David Group. “Engaging them on the web requires a more sophisticated approach that takes into account how this mobile-device friendly group likes to consume information.”
In today’s market, a good website goes beyond merely displaying information, but instead seeks to build an ongoing relationship with visitors that will keep them coming back, say the paper’s authors. In this sense, a college’s website acts as a bridge to valued potential students and their families.
A website should also capture the interests of the specific types of students that an institution is looking to attract.
The whitepaper notes that “on average, it costs more than $2,000 to recruit just one new student, making it increasingly important that the first introduction to your school–most often your website–grab your audience’s attention and supply the appropriate information in the most appealing manner possible.”
Here are the 10 key topic areas identified by The Kyle David Group:
(Next page: learn the 10 essential components of a successful campus website)
In order to be successful when it comes to discussing admissions online, transparency is key, says the whitepaper. Students need to know what admissions factors are prioritized, and will likely appreciate written statements from admissions officers and “warm, honest videos offering advice.” Beyond this, schools need to ensure that students can apply online in order to broaden the pool of potential applicants. Finally, virtual interviews are advised, since they help students save time and money, ensure that they will be able to complete an interview, display to video-savvy students that the school is familiar with online video technology, and allow admissions officers a glimpse into student personalities.
Unlike years past, campus websites need to display to students that the institution can be an important stepping stone towards a rewarding and successful career. For this reason, it can be a good idea to share quality online resources used by professors, detail the use of online assignments and examinations, and be transparent when it comes to showing departmental performance stats, professor ratings, graduation rates, and career/post-graduate success statistics.
Students often want to see professors who are leaders in research and expansion in their fields, explains the whitepaper. Students want to see recognizable professors and know that their professors will invest time in communicating with them. Sharing student ratings of professors and allowing recorded lectures and webinars to be viewed go a long way in ensuring students feel comfortable with the teachers they might have, should they choose to attend that institution.
4.) School Resources
A campus website should strive to provide some familiarity to students by emphasizing that the resources they have in high school will be available to them again in college. This includes emphasizing the availability of digital libraries and textbooks, third-party lectures, and virtual tutoring.
5.) Financial Aid
One of the most immediate turn-offs about a school for many students can be that they simply can’t afford tuition. For this reason, it is essential that students know that there are ways they can attend an institution, such as institutional, federal and private financing, as well as through alumni donations and scholarships.
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6.) Social Life
Here is a chance for campus websites to have some fun! An abundance of current photos, videos and digital media can provide a comprehensive look at the true atmosphere of a school, notes the whitepaper. Having a dedicated social network can also be key in helping students interact with the goings-on at the school and finding new friends; it’s also critical that social media accounts be easily found on campus websites. Finally, campus websites should consider featuring virtual tours for students who can not easily visit.
An outstanding athletic program can be a great way to generate interest from alumni, current students, and prospective applicants alike. By featuring game videos, highlights, and online access to away games, students can bolster their school spirit. By featuring intramural sports and fitness opportunities, students can also see that they can stay active while attending college.
8.) Internship Opportunities
Internships are essential for many students because they provide a look into a professional settings and provide students a chance to hone their skills and develop professional relationships in their chosen fields. They also give schools a chance to reach out and strengthen ties to businesses in their communities, which in turn sets up the possibilities for guest lectures, career fairs, and off-campus education credits, explains the whitepaper. Institutions should also try to provide profiles and virtual tours of local businesses, networking opportunities, and access to school career centers and online platforms like LinkedIn.
9.) Professional Recruiting
As noted previously, it is important for schools to show how well its graduates transition into the working world. Videos of students going through recruitment interviews, teaching students about available preparatory mock interviews, and access to industry leaders (whether they be alumni or simply guest lecturers) lets students know that an institution can prepare them for post-graduation success.
10.) Alternative Lifestyles
A good campus website should also try to appeal to a diverse range of students, says the whitepaper. By displaying that your institution has a number of robust communities for underserved groups including, but not limited to, LGBT students, students of different political parties, and military programs, institutions can go a long way in ensuring that a student will be left feeling confident that they can find their place on a big campus.