Mythbusting admissions: 10 assumptions to reconsider

New report aims to help higher ed recruitment and enrollment by highlighting admissions myths based on what admissions professionals believe versus what teens actually do.


While social media channels are well-used by prospective students, it’s actually legacy platforms like email, and institutional websites, that have the most influence over college decision-making.

That’s just one takeaway from a comprehensive white paper from Gil Rogers, director of marketing and enrollment services at Chegg, and Michael Stoner, president and co-founder of mStoner, Inc., on admissions myths that could be causing institutions to invest in the wrong practices, as well as not reaching as many prospective students as they could.

The report, based on responses from data and surveys of the thousands of students who use Chegg, and 218 responses from admissions professionals in colleges and universities across the country, aims to help college and university admissions reach prospective students in the most effective way possible and boost enrollment.

The problem, say the authors, is that with the proliferation of devices, social media channels and apps, admissions professionals are scrambling to keep up and may too often invest precious time and money on channels and practices that don’t actually resonate with Generation Z (aka teens).

For admissions officers “it’s more important than ever to question assumptions about what teens do and don’t do, prefer and dislike, when it comes to their college search and choice process,” states the report. “…jumping on the hottest new social network just because teens are using it is usually a waste of time (and therefore, money).”

Rogers and Stoner go on to say that though experimentation isn’t bad, understanding what new apps and social media channels actually do for teens who use them will help avoid wasting time that could be better spent managing other, more effective channels.

“Don’t take the hype about new technology at face value, but consider carefully why teens have taken it up and whether or not it’s something that your institution can legitimately use to reach them,” the report emphasizes.

To better break down the report’s findings, the authors have pulled 10 big admissions myths from the data, comparing what student respondents of the surveys say versus what admissions officers polled say. In other words, people often have a limited view of data that mismatches with actual student behavior.


Myth 1: Prospects hang on an admissions officer’s every word. 71 percent of admissions officers believe that conversations with them are important sources of information for teens before they decide to apply. However, only 37 percent of teens agree. “It’s not that teens totally discount what admissions officers say, but there are other information sources that are much more important to them,” note the authors.

(Next page: Admissions myths 2-6)