As prospective university students weigh up their offers of places, a new survey finds the highly competitive battle for new students is fought first and foremost on the university’s own website.
The survey of nearly 250 prospective university students found the majority (30% – nearly a third) of students used the university’s own website to conduct research about which academic institution to attend. This was more than any other research method they employed.
Prospective students’ next most popular form of research was visiting the campus in person (26%). This was followed by asking teachers, family and friends (18%).
Published independent research and press articles were used as research by 16% of would-be higher education students.
Just 5% were content to choose a university by its reputation alone. And chat rooms and online forums also had little influence. Again only 5% said they used these to research which universities to attend.
Dr Marc Pinter-Krainer, CEO of One News Page, says:
“It’s clear just how important the university’s own website is in attracting new students and influencing their decision to attend it. Our research shows that a good site is the best marketing tool, and a poor website is highly damaging when it comes to wooing new students. As this year’s school leavers are making up their minds where to study, university webmasters should be ensuring their sites are presenting their institution at its very best.”
While a good university website helps attract students, a poor one has the opposite effect. Almost two thirds (61%) of respondents said a poor website would put them off attending that institution. And well over hal (55%) agreed with the statement that “A good univeristy website speaks a lot about the quality of the institution.”