It’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your life. Your prospective students are one of the 20 million prospective college students looking for the information that helps them find a place that fits their personality, goals, and aspirations.
Students are leaving your website and using student feedback from third-party rating and review sites like Niche, Cappex, Facebook and hundreds of other sources to help select a school. Similar to how they would use reviews on TripAdvisor or Amazon to find the best travel destination or pair of shoes. Why? Because the college selection process represents the biggest decision yet in the life of a student. This generation of consumer lives off leveraging the insights and experiences of others, whether through social media or product reviews, to inform their decision making.
We formed Expirically following a series of engagements where we conducted journey maps with university freshman and sophomores on the school recruiting and selection process. Every school had great videos, tours were inconsistent based on the guide, and the majority acknowledged they rarely opened any of the stacks of marketing material mailed to their house. What they felt was missing, and what they seek in other products, was insight from individuals they felt were like themselves. Colleges and universities are not providing the same type of content prospective undergraduate and graduate students use every day to support their decisions.
We conducted a survey of over 300 students across the US and found that over 75% felt it is important that schools and universities share the experiences of current and past students with prospective students. Similar to other industries, colleges and universities need to share student and alumni survey data via star ratings to ensure prospective students come to their website for social proof.