Every year, students commit to colleges and universities in the spring. Then, sometime during the summer, many of them get lost and fail to show up in autumn. According to some statistics, as much as 40% of students who commit in the spring don’t matriculate in autumn! This risk is highest for low-income and first-generation students.
So, why don’t they show up? There are various possibilities, but have you ever considered that maybe your website actually makes it difficult for students to
How your web content may be increasing summer melt
When students have questions about their application process, they look for the answers online. A quick glance through keyword trends shows a huge volume of searches related to financial aid, university admission, and more.
These students are looking for answers in two places: Google and your university’s website.
If I’m a university student and I’m wondering what the deadline is for on-campus housing sign-ups, I’ll probably check the university website. If I can’t find what I’m looking for, then I’ll perform a Google or internal site search. Is that information easy to find? Does it even exist on your website? Does your website have a list of clear, actionable next steps for accepted first-year students to take? Can students easily find contact information for someone they can talk to, or are they struggling to get in touch with the right person?
Many of the students who disappear during the summer melt are asking similar questions: they are confused about financial aid processes, they don’t know what to do after they commit, and they don’t have an adviser they can turn to.
So they turn to your website. Is your website ready?
Using web content to mitigate summer melt
The key to writing web content that reduces summer melt is understanding your audience. You want to write content that helps these students solve their problems. But first, you need to understand what those problems are.
Luckily, there are plenty of free resources available that can help you understand why some students are not showing up in autumn. Make an outline of every step an incoming student needs to take before their first class. Talk to your admission
Next, craft content for your website that answers these questions. Make it clear, concise, and easy to find. That means
Be sure to include contact information that students can
In short, you want to make it easy for these students to solve their problems on their own. Be the resource they are seeking.
Reach out with web
Some case studies indicate that a more
With advanced analytics tracking tools, you can serve personal messaging on your website to students who have been accepted or made a deposit. Web
For example, if you have a group of accepted students with a demonstrated interest in athletics, use lightboxes to promote upcoming accepted student days with images and language that
By sending targeted content to accepted students, your website can guide them to sign up for important orientation dates where they can meet with admission
This blog article was originally published on Carnegie