My analysis: Welcome to College


My analysis: Welcome to College

May 29, 2012By Mallory Willsea

In yesterday’s post I featured a Q&A with the founder of Welcome to College, Justin Bayer. I believe this site, which allows high school students the ability to track their campus visit experiences, has enormous potential for partnering institutions. But, as I noted yesterday, you need to give to get.

Here are my three suggestions for how to make the most of your partnership with Welcome to College.

1) There are opportunities to engage with prospective students on the site that should not be overlooked.

  • One of the best benefits for partnering institutions is the ability to customize feedback questions and respond directly to prospective students. Don’t overlook this value. If a student leaves a less‐than‐stellar remark or was confused about information provided, it is your responsibility to respond, addresses their concerns, and provide the answers they need. And don’t forget, a student or parent is taking the time to leave their comments. Even if the feedback is positive, make sure you thank them.

welcome to college feedback

  • Partnering institutions can customize content on their profile page. If you have the resources, why not create a special video for the site? Instead of providing generic content or links for the info page, consider what the Welcome to College user is looking for most.

2) Increase the amount of feedback you receive by capturing prospective students’ impressions before they leave your campus.

Getting feedback was the biggest reason Saint Michael’s partnered with Welcome to College and I wanted to increase our chances of receiving that information in any way possible. The first thing I did was put an iPad in the Welcome Center (where the tours ended) and trained the tour guides on how to encourage feedback from prospective families after a tour. The iPad provided a “cool factor” to the experience of leaving feedback and the ability for a family to bring the device to a quiet area of the Welcome Center to enter their responses in private.

I believe that once a prospective family leaves campus, the chance to get their feedback decreases dramatically. You’ll want to capture responses while it is fresh in their mind and while they are still thinking about your college or university. This is especially important if the family is visiting multiple schools in one day.

More often than not, the student or parent has a few minutes to share instant feedback. However, sometimes families will be in a rush and unable to fill out the online form immediately, which is why it is important to put information about leaving feedback on a handout or on the back of your tour guides’ business cards.

3) Increase the opportunity for your institution to be discovered by prospective students on Welcome to College.

When Welcome to College launched, the site was most popular with students in the midwest–a target market St. Mike’s was looking to break into. We found value in using the site because it would allow us to reach a new market.

There are two pages within Welcome to College worth noting, “campus visit most rated” and “top campus visits.” With the popularity of college ranking sites, I imagine these pages are viewed often. And this is the ticket to being discovered unexpectedly on Welcome to College.

Having a strategy to encourage feedback will benefit your institution with the “most rated” list. Adding a few questions (partner institutions can add up to 10 customized questions) you know your institution will score well on will increase your likelihood of appearing on the latter.

I’m curious what your experience has been with Welcome to College. What have you learned and do you have any suggestions for making the most of your partnership?

  • Mallory Willsea

    Mallory Willsea Director of Marketing and Business Development Proud ENFJ, here! What does that mean for mStoner, besides entertaining colleagues with my wit and charm? I'm a problem-solver and enjoy working through our potential client's challenges to identify solutions and how a partnership with mStoner will bring value.