New research has found that the majority of prospective college students rely on higher education institutions’ websites, as well as internet searches, for information about institutions and their academic programs.

The research, from edtech company Anthology, found that websites and internet searches are relied on far more than school guidance counselors. More than 60 percent of survey respondents said they use websites and searches, whereas only 17 percent said they turn to guidance counselors.

Specifically, students said they use the university’s website as the first channel to gather information about university applications. As a result, Anthology said universities need to focus their efforts on ensuring their website is “engaging, easy to use, and geared toward prospective students.”

Building on the importance of websites, Anthology said universities should use their websites to highlight “the value of degrees and the career outcomes they lead to on the university website.” This suggestion is in response to the survey finding that 69 percent of respondents said that their career outlook and options are very important when determining what university to attend.

Students also said that good communication from a college or university is key to 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. As for the method of communication, 65 percent of respondents prefer communications during the application and enrollment process through email.

Outside of the actual enrollment process, Anthology found that class modalities offered at a school play a key roll in where a student decides to attend. Nearly a third 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 data, only 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.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs