40% of High School Students Will Lose Interest in a College After a Poor Website Experience


New survey from Modern Campus and Ruffalo Noel Levitz highlights importance of personalized website experiences to prospective student engagement


TORONTO, July 13, 2021 – U.S.-based high school students say the website is their most influential resource when conducting college research, and 40% will lose interest in a college or university if the website is frustrating or disappointing. This, according to “Personal Connection: How to Maximize Enrollment, Retention and Re-Engagement”, a research paper developed by Modern Campus, the industry’s leading “student first” modern learner engagement platform
The research comes from Ruffalo Noel Levitz’s E-Expectations® Trend Report, an annual survey of high school students exploring their behaviors and experiences as they research prospective colleges. The 2021 edition highlights the rising importance of personalization in engaging prospective students—and the need for colleges and universities to stand out in the increasingly competitive postsecondary marketplace. 
“Modern learners think and act like consumers, so it’s critical for colleges and universities to build websites, social media presences and outreach strategies that address their needs and interests,” said Peter DeVries, president and chief operating officer of Modern Campus. “Those that do will thrive. We know this because we see it in our customers every day—on average they grow annual revenue by 19% and enrollments by 14%.” 
Like any customer in any industry, prospective students conducting their college research are primarily trying to understand how the institutions they are considering match their needs and expectations. 
Additional key findings:

  • 80% of prospective students apply to five or fewer colleges or universities
  • 62% of prospective students are more likely to enroll after watching a virtual tour
  • 82% of high school seniors expect their institution to offer pathways to jobs
  • 90% of high school seniors expect their institution to offer a personalized curriculum based on their post-graduation goals
  • 43% of high school students like using websites that allow them to filter and personalize content to meet their interests

“Personalization is foundational to customer engagement in every other industry, and higher education is starting to adapt,” said Amrit Ahluwalia, director of strategic insights at Modern Campus. “Since students primarily use the college website to determine whether an institution is a good fit, colleges and universities should be looking for ways to ensure their website is highlighting the right information to the right students at the right time to simplify their enrollment decisions.” 
To view the complete findings, and learn more about how colleges and universities can leverage personalization to meet prospective students’ expectations at every phase of their college search journey, visit: https://moderncampus.com/research-paper/personal-connection-e-expectations-2021.html
Report Methodology/Respondent Profile
Ruffalo Noel Levitz surveyed over 2,000 high school students ranging from 14 to 17 years old, who will be graduating from high school between 2021-2023. They were contacted via email between January 15 and February 28, 2021. No personally identifiable data was collected, and only the principal researcher has access to the raw data. 
Of the 2,087 survey respondents, all in the United States, 47% were seniors, 33% were juniors and 20% were sophomores. Their geographic distribution showed that 25% lived in the West, 24% in the Southeast, 19% in the Midwest, 16% in the Northeast and 15% in the Southwest. 
About Modern Campus
Modern Campus is obsessed with empowering its 1,200+ higher education customers to thrive when radical transformation is required to respond to lower student enrollments and revenue, rising costs, crushing student debt and even school closures.   
Powered by Omni CMS, DIGARC, Presence and Destiny One, the Modern Campus modern learner engagement platform enables innovative institutions to create a “learner to earner” lifecycle that engages modern learners for life.  
Delivering massive personalization, AI-driven recommendations and a modern e-commerce engine, Modern Campus creates a student-first digital experience and removes silos across campus. Presidents and provosts, marketing and IT teams, admissions, registrars, student affairs and CE divisions can partner to attract, enroll, empower, retain, credential and re-engage students with pathways for lifelong learning.  
Learn how Modern Campus is leading the modern learner engagement movement at moderncampus.com and follow us on LinkedIn

Last updated: July 13, 2021

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