26 Jul 10 Reasons High School Students will Leave Your College’s Website
By Austin Lim and Kirsten Cutshall
These days, when a high school student begins their grueling process of deciding between colleges, the first place they’re going to look is your website. How the website simply makes them feel might seem insignificant, but could actually be a huge part of their perception of your college as a whole. So here are some reasons they might click that X button and cross your college off their list.
1. You look dated.
Let’s face it, no one enjoys scrolling through a website that looks like it hasn’t been updated since the 90’s. As trivial as it might seem, the design and visuals of your website are crucial. Keeping the look of your website up to today’s standards might be the most important factor that keeps a prospective student from closing your tab.
2. They don’t like your pictures.
Students want to find a college where they feel at home. If the images you place on the website are too specific towards a type of person, you might end up pushing away exceptional students of diverse backgrounds and personalities. It’s important to understand your college’s culture of students and include images that match that culture.
3. Confusing navigation.
We all know how frustrating it is to get lost on a website or not be able to easily access a webpage. Many people might just get over it or troubleshoot their situation, but if a high school student comes across this issue on your website, they might just deal with it by dragging that mouse right over to the X and never visit again. Accessible pages and user-friendly functionality are key aspects to making an experience on your website enjoyable.
4. A bad mobile experience.
In today’s world, nearly everything is accessible in the palm of your hands. When a student hears your college’s name, they don’t wait until they get to a desktop to check out your website, they just pull out their phone and look it up. So making sure that the design, images, and functionality of your desktop website translates well into your mobile website is absolutely essential.
5. Expecting students to know their major – not enough information for those who do not.
College is a confusing and complicated place. High school students cannot be expected to have a perfect grasp of what they are getting into. Having accessible information about each major and college life, in general, is a perfect way to make possible applicants a little less overwhelmed during such an overwhelming process.
6. Students feel sold instead of informed.
For a lot of people, picking a college might be one of the biggest decisions they ever make. When making a decision like this, students don’t want to feel like your college is just a greasy salesman trying to make a quick buck from you. They want to feel cared for and welcomed. Providing useful information without inundating them with gimmicky reasons to go to your school might make them feel like you are there to help them through the decision-making process.
7. Too much detail and not enough context.
So what, blah blah percent of your graduates have blah blah jobs. Is that good? Students might not know how the statistics you throw at them compare to other schools or the rest of the world. Instead of focusing so much on the statistics themselves, it may be more important to show why those statistics matter and how they compare in context to your competitors.
8. You sound like every other school….accessible, good value, student success, blah blah (yeah we care about that, but calling yourself classy doesn’t make you classy).
We’ve seen and heard it a thousand times. Your college is a “good value” or you’ve won this and that awards. But, how does your college stand out among the million other colleges that say the same thing? Mentioning more distinct aspects of your college like the campus environment or student lead clubs might sway students to appreciate the uniqueness of the school, rather than be bored by the same old stats and accolades that everyone else spouts.
9. It’s not translated to their language.
A student whose first language is not English might feel unwelcome or simply not fit for your college if there is not a version of your website in their comfortable language. Translating your website into various languages could be a great help in promoting a sense of inclusivity and diversity.
10. There is nothing about international admissions.
Exceptional students come from all around the world. And like the language translations, having a page for international admissions can make students from other countries feel that your school cares about them and their possible decision to come to a foreign country to go to college. International admissions can show prospective students that your college not only accepts international students but gladly welcomes them into a place where they can pursue various opportunities.