There is one piece of research from the 2018 E-Expectations Trend Report about how digital engagement shapes the way high school juniors and seniors choose a college that is not surprising: They like stories about students similar to themselves.
Popular Content for College Websites
Content featuring students speaking about campus life or engaged in activities ranks highest for content favorites. Also popular are views of the campus environs, classrooms, and residence halls. Faculty, alumni, and tutorials are less appealing, but you’d be wise to include them to round out a picture of campus life.
These OmniUpdate customers provide good examples of sharing student stories online:
Using Video to Engage Prospective Students
Even more than reading about students, juniors and seniors said that they like watching videos about students. The research found that 76 percent of seniors and 57 of juniors watched videos, with students’ experiences ranking highest in the type of videos watched. And of those that watched, 70 percent of seniors and juniors said that they sometimes watch videos on mobile.
Tips for Creating Video Content
When developing your video content, stay under 2 minutes and consider front-loading the video with key information, as students may stop watching within 30–60 seconds. Keep videos concise and engaging and focus on topics of interest to students. Videos on how to apply or financial aid did not rank well.
The bottom line is that the more you tailor your website to students’ interests, the more successful your marketing strategy will be. And successful marketing will be apparent when your application numbers increase.
Trend Alert: Submitting a Video Application
It’s no secret that videos are growing increasingly popular as a form of communicating with students on your website. But did you know that some schools such as Goucher College are now accepting videos as part of their applications process?
According to the 2018 E-Expectations data, 8 percent of seniors reported that videos are a required part of their application. The number is still quite low compared to the overwhelming majority of schools that require traditional submissions. It won’t be a surprise to see it increase in the coming years.
As children and tweens continue to make videos, and as this generation grows, they will not only expect your website to be chock full of videos as a way to convey information, but will assume that different formats will be acceptable for submitting applications to your institution.
Exploring new ways to engage prospective students positions your institution as a progressive leader in higher ed—and could well lead to an increase in enrollment.
To learn more about trends in student engagement, download the 2018 E-Expectations Trend Report.