Name: Renee Ballenger
The National Research Center for College & University Admissions (NRCCUA), the leading organization connecting young people and their families with colleges and universities around the country, released its annual rankings of Admissions Websites of more than 3,000 postsecondary institutions and Southern Utah University has been ranked the ninth best website in the country! That’s www.suu.edu
The 8th annual Enrollment Power Index™ (EPI), a research-based analysis, rates the functionality and design of college and university websites as well as how well thy provide information to potential students to take them from prospect to applicant.
Of the 3,015 postsecondary institutions whose sites were graded, less than 30 percent earned A or B grades. The top 10 rated schools were:
1. Mount St. Mary’s College
2. Whitman College
3. Arizona State University
4. Covenant College
5. York College of Pennsylvania
6. Fort Hays State University
7. University of North Carolina, Pembroke
8. Augustana College
9. Southern Utah University !!!!!!!!!
10. College of the Holy Cross
“With students more Internet-savvy than ever before, it is important for admissions sections of university Web sites to be up to date with the latest technology and have the information students expect,” said Don Munce, President of NRCCUA. “Students visit these sites to help them make important decisions about their future, and a quality Web site can make all the difference.”
Only 157 institutions received an A, 694 a B, 1316 a C, 623 a D, and 221 an F. No sites scored in the 90s on the 100-point scale, only 4 scored in the 80s, and more than half earned scores in the 60s or 70s. Scores for the top 10 schools ranged from 82-78 on a 100-point scale, a significant decrease from last year’s top scores of 88-86.
“In order to satisfy prospective students and encourage them to apply, colleges and universities need to stay current with the changing times and continue to expand and enhance their admissions Web sites,” said Munce.
EPI measures the ability of a college or university admissions website to take students from a prospect to applicant. It provides a detailed analysis of trends and clear indicators of what institutions can do to improve the effectiveness of their sites. To identify the site features that have the most significant impact of potential students perception of the site, an email survey was sent to more than 100,000 college-bound high school students asking them to rate two admissions websites. Next, more than 3,000 sites were evaluated to identify functional features present on each site. Statistical tests were then used to identify the functional features that were important to students and their relative importance. The study examined 34 different criteria that are divided into five main categories:
1. Prominence of an admissions office link on the institution’s home page (14.92 possible points)
2. Admissions Web page design and ease of navigation (20.50 possible points)
3. Online access to admissions materials (17.92 possible points)
4. Additional admissions information (33.03 possible points)
5. Ability to contact the admissions office (13.61 possible points).
Since the technology for admissions Web sites is constantly advancing and changing, so are the expectations of potential students on the type of information available to them. The EPI survey takes this into account as the research criteria are updated on a yearly basis to reflect changes in technology and the student’s expectations. Certain features, such as the ability to apply online, have become standard but not universal and now carry less weight in the rating system. This year’s research revealed three items that have become more critical to admissions websites and are expected by potential students who use the sites:
1. Virtual diaries and blogs maintained by current students that discuss their college experiences, allowing prospective students to see what life on campus is really like
2. Interactive functions such as instant messaging and live online chat rooms for students to communicate with admissions officers as they explore their college options
3. The ability to track admissions applications status online.
“Our in-depth and comprehensive research tells us that innovative admissions websites are increasingly more important to students as they consider their college options,” said Ron Morris, NRCCUA director of admissions marketing research. “With all of the online technology there is today, students want – and expect - a site that they can relate to and navigate easily.”
For more information on the EPI study, please visit www.NRCCUA.org.
Through its more than 100-year history, Southern Utah University has evolved from a teacher training school into its current role as a comprehensive, regional university to more than 7,000 students from across the globe. It serves the southern region of Utah and contiguous counties in surrounding states with undergraduate and graduate programs in six colleges. People of the region look to the University for outreach services, culture, economic and business development, higher learning, regional history, public affairs, major academic specialties, and significant entertainment and recreation. Accentuated by the notable, economic value of its services, SUU's hallmark is its quality staff, faculty and academics.
NRCCUA - The National Research Center for College & University Admissions (NRCCUA) is a non-profit education research organization based in Lee’s Summit, Mo. For over 34 years, NRCCUA has conducted the largest nationwide survey of high school students, which serves as a communications link between college-bound high school students and public and private colleges and universities. For more information, visit www.nrccua.org.
CONTACT: Michael Fleischer (202) 667-0901
Or Emily Roosa, Widmeyer Communications
(202) 667-0901; www.widmeyer.com
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