Majority of Students use College Websites for Enrollment Decisions

The majority of prospective college students turn to higher education institutions’ websites to make their enrollment decisions, according to new research from edtech company Anthology.

The research found that over 60 percent of respondents relied on internet searches and institutions’ websites for information about institutions and their academic programs, while only 17 percent relied on guidance counselors.

Additionally, nearly two-thirds – 63 percent – of respondents said that they use the university’s website as their first channel to gather information about university applications.

As a result, Anthology recommended these institutions “ensure their website is engaging, easy to use, and geared toward prospective students.”

The survey also found that 69 percent of respondents said that their career outlook and options are very important when determining what university to attend. In response to this finding, Anthology recommended that universities use their websites to highlight “the value of degrees and the career outcomes they lead to on the university website.”

Students also value communication from a college or university during the application process. The majority of respondents – 67 percent – said that clear steps and requirements for the application and admissions process would be most helpful in their enrollment journey compared to other information.

“In an environment where enrollment yields are under pressure, institutions have to be intentional about the application and enrollment process, engaging students along their journey proactively, providing the support they need, and demonstrating the value of a degree,” said Jim Milton, chairman and CEO at Anthology.

As for the method of communication, 65 percent of respondents said they prefer communication during the application and enrollment process through email. Fifty-two percent said they prefer phone calls.

Aside from the enrollment process, the research found that class delivery and modality at a college also play a key role in enrollment decisions. Thirty-two percent of respondents rated the availability of online courses as either the most important or second most important element when researching potential universities.

According to the research, just 16 percent of respondents were more inclined to select a fully in-person program, while 41 percent and 34 percent are more inclined to select a hybrid or fully online program, respectively.