At the start of their research process, 90% of prospective students are unsure of which college or university they want to attend. To help with information gathering, they look at higher education institution ranking sites, hang out on social networks, talk with family, friends, mentors, and counselors, and check out school websites. That’s where you – the higher ed digital marketer – come in.
With 35% of prospective students applying to more than six schools, it’s more important than ever that your school’s website offer an immersive experience that gets a prospect excited about your school. Your website needs to work harder than ever to stand out from the competition and show what makes your campus an ideal fit. The fact is, the type of website experience you offer can make or break your enrollment numbers.
So, what are some cool interactive features that can help you up your higher education digital marketing game?
Sharing powerful stories about members of your campus and their experiences at your school helps prospective students envision how they may fit in to the fabric of your community and what type of college experience is open to them.
University of Florida does an impressive job of telling stories that connect their degree programs to the real-world impact their students are making across a variety of global concerns, from healthcare to hunger. By showing how their students have made a large-scale impact by working together to address global challenges, they appeal to prospective students who seek to make a positive difference.
By highlighting various experiences a typical student may have, Providence College helps prospective students connect with the school in an accessible and realistic way. Their beautifully done video profiles show what campus life is like and the types opportunities available to students, all while fostering an emotional connection.
Immersive Campus Views
Enrollment officers across the country say the key to getting prospects to apply and matriculate is to get them on campus. The enrollment rate increases significantly for prospective students who have visited a school, but you’ve got to give those prospects a reason to come see you by whetting their appetite a bit.
The University of Texas at Tyler offers a interactive virtual tour that gives a great sense of the campus itself as well as how students live, learn, and play. It also has clear calls-to-action that make it easy to schedule a visit or apply to the school.
For prospective students, particularly non-traditional students and adult learners, outcomes are an important factor in the decision making process. American University’s “We Know Success” site features an interactive tool that provides prospects with information about outcomes including careers, salaries, and experiences across all of their degree programs.
Students who are considering attending your college or university want to understand what their experience might be like. They want to know about faculty, curriculum, classmates, community, and culture in order to make their enrollment decision.
- American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine gives prospective students a glimpse into the journey they will embark upon at the school.
- Bridgewater State University offers an immersive guide for prospective students that walks them through the various choices the school offers enrolled students looking to map their pathways.
- For prospective students who are curious about what life is like for students enrolled in the online program at Norwich University, the school profiles three alumni in their “A Week In the Life" feature. Norwich also gives a sense of what students can expect from their university experience with videos that talk about available student support, faculty members, community, and outcomes.
The need to provide a great digital experience doesn’t stop once a prospective student has become an enrolled student. Your school should definitely have an engaging admitted students website that keeps incoming students assured and excited about their selection, involved in your campus culture, and participating in your community from decision day all the way to matriculation.
While there are plenty of other digital to-do’s this summer, thinking about ways you can increase your enrollment should definitely make your list.