The impact of effective online marketing on higher education websites varies quite a bit from school to school. That's not exactly a surprising revelation.
Consider these random notes after preparing a new presentation (Adult-friendly Websites: A 'Best of the Best Review') for Carol Aslanian's next Education Dynamics conference that took me through many different websites in search of the 19 examples I'll be using in Chicago next week.
- Easy to find academic programs: For most potential future students, "adult" or not, learning what programs are offered is the first thing they want to do when starting to pick a college. Few schools make this easy to do right from the home page. One of the best "can't miss" examples is at the DeVry University home page.
- Easy to find online programs: Online education is booming today so why not give people an quick list of everything you offer online? Too many schools require visitors to scroll through the complete list of programs to find the ones marked for online availability. Ball State University does it better on this special page for online programs.
- Transfer credit evaluation: Most undergraduate adult students have taken courses elsewhere. One of their goals in selecting a college is to learn which of those earlier courses will transfer toward the new degree. Most schools don't seem to offer informal online evaluation of previous courses. Instead, potential students are usually told that they'll find out after they've applied and been accepted. Indiana University of Pennsylvania departs from the norm with their online evaluation page.
- Payment options: It isn't easy to find out how people can pay for their courses. Northern Arizona University presents 4 options that easily pass the "scan and find in 5 seconds or less" test at their special "Payment Options" page.
- Social media connections: Many but not all schools today are including icons for social media sites somewhere on their websites, although from the placement it sometimes seems that they don't want people to find them. University of Phoenix increases social media visibility by including new updates for Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube on an "Online Communities" page.
- Quick start to Chat: I found several examples of a real-time chat opportunity. That's a good thing for people who have an immediate question about something on the website. But don't ask people to complete a detailed survey so "we can serve you better" as a requirement to send a chat question. Keep your chat form as simple as the example from Phoenix.
Those are a few examples of website features to create and/or avoid on a website with high student recruitment impact.
Best Adult Student Recruitment Website
People often ask me to recommend a single "best" website.
I'm always reluctant to do that since few sites combine the best features found by searching through many. That said, the search for examples for this presentation eliminated that reluctance. Nothing's perfect, but the best overall website I've found for adult student recruitment is at Walden University.
Graduate Student Recruitment Conference in NYC in July
If you have a special interest in recruiting graduate students, join Carol Aslanian and friends for "Graduate Student Marketing" at the Harvard Club on July 29.
Check the presenters and be a participant after you read the programs details.
That's all for now
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