Each year the Noel Levitz consultant firm publishes an e-expectations report on the expectations of graduating high school students and their parents. This is an invaluable report series for gaining insight into what we should include on our web sites. We use it as a set of guidelines, making sure that all of the most important elements that they cover are available and easy to find. This year’s report is out, and as usual it has some important takeaways for us to consider.
I encourage you to download and read the full report, but here are a few highlights:
- Both parents and students rated college websites as the most influential resource when making up their mind. It is also their preferred method of doing research and the source which they consider the most reliable.
- Access to mobile devices is nearly universal among this demographic, but only 71% of students use them to access a university site and only 45% of parents did so.
- Paid advertisement is becoming more effective. Thirty one percent of students have clicked on a paid ad in search or social media channels. These tend to be the students who have not yet decided which school to attend — i.e., potential recruits.
- Social media continues to be big and continues to grow, but patterns are changing. Other than Facebook and Twitter, all other major channels doubled in usage since last year’s survey. Visual media such as YouTube and Instagram have passed Twitter in popularity. Google+, important to SEO as we have seen, has become viable with 30% of students on that platform.
- Privacy is still a concern, especially among parents. Collecting information is important for us as a university, but we need to let the students and parents know that we respect their privacy and will be using their information responsibly.
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