The Latest Mobile Research from Noel-Levitz and What You Can Do About Itby mStoner Staff
ESTIMATED READING TIME: 2 minutes
Noel-Levitz just released a must-read report, The Mobile Browsing Behaviors and Expectations of College-bound High School Students. The report surveyed nearly 2,300 college-bound high-school students about how they use mobile devices to connect with colleges and universities. It contains eye-opening statistics such as 52% of college-bound high school students have viewed a schools website on a mobile device.
Interested yet? I hope so. I hope youre downloading the report now so you have a better idea of what to say to your institution’s admissions counselors when they come to kick down your door and ask you why youre not providing critical admissions content on your mobile site. The report also shows content rated as most valuable by prospective students, including six types of critical admissions content: academic program listings, cost/scholarship calculators, a calendar of important dates and deadlines, specific details about academic programs, an application process summary, and online application forms.
If youve read Seth Odells damning commentary that higher education has missed the mark with mobile, or if you want to see for yourself by perusing Dave M. Olsens Higher Education Mobile Directory, youre going to reach a conclusion: most .edu mobile sites dont provide all six kinds of critical admissions content.
What should you do next?
If your mobile site isn’t totally optimal yet, dont panic! The top level findings of the Noel-Levitz research are alarming, but theres another key statistic embedded in the report: only 2% of students indicated a mobile experience influenced their opinion of an institution for the worse. 50% indicated no change in opinion from visiting a mobile site, and 48% said it changed their opinion for the better. The bottom line here is that a great mobile experience will likely help your position, but a bad one would unlikely be a deal breaker for many prospective students.
Be proactive about bringing this research to admissions and other key stakeholders at your institution. The report provides fairly compelling statistics about why a mobile site (or responsive site designed to display on a mobile device) should be a top priority for Colleges and Universities. Sharing this information with admissions or with key stakeholders puts you in a position to help solve the problem.
If you dont have a mobile site or a responsive design yet, get started ASAP. In the face of this new research and other research you may not need to panic, but you can no longer afford to ignore that prospective students can and will visit your site on mobile devices in increasing numbers.
If you do have a mobile or responsive site, make sure youre providing the most valued content. Again, those six kinds of critical admissions content are are: academic program listings, cost/scholarship calculators, a calendar of important dates and deadlines, specific details about academic programs, an application process summary, and online application forms. If an online application form is out of range based on the complexity level of your admission process, consider a mobile-friendly request for information form.
Dont forget other low-hanging admissions fruit in the mobile environment. Your institution likely has a couple of key differentiators that can easily be surfaced within a mobile or responsive framework. Prospective students who visit your campus are also more likely to apply, so making sure they can access maps or directions may help get them to visit. Lastly, facts or rankings about an institution can sway a decision to attend or decline, so consider providing prospectives with an easy way to get to this information.
Give prospective students a reason to come back to your site on a device. 47% of students indicated they would return to a schools mobile site after having visited once, and another 47% indicated they might return. This means if you provide the right level of utility and investigative content, you are more likely to encourage repeat visits from prospective students. More engagement means more interest, and more likelihood that a prospective will take action to visit, request more information, or apply.
Link to your Facebook and Twitter pages. These two pieces of content were ranked as somewhat valuable by college-bound high school students. Unless your social media feeds are designed for alumni as the primary audience, there is no good argument for leaving links to these two platforms out of your mobile site.