Report: Digital natives prioritize degree program information in college search
- EAB released a survey showing potential college students' interest in majors exceeds their concerns about costs or reputation, prompting some experts to think that post-graduate career advancement remains a top motivator for college attendance.
- According to the survey results, 70% of respondents indicated that they looked to college websites for information on academic programs, a 3.6% increase over the past two years. Meanwhile, 19% of students were most concerned with the reputation of the institution while 24% were seeking financial aid options.
- Social media is an emerging resource for students seeking information about college programs. More than 40% of students surveyed said information about majors and minors was the most useful content on networking platforms.
It's not surprising that prospective students are using the Internet as a primary research resource for academic majors, or that some institutions have responded with increased marketing of specific programs through search terms and keywords. But what is surprising is that students are more interested in degree programs than how much they cost, or where they would get the money to pay for it.
For enrollment management officials, this presents the chance to recalibrate recruitment strategies to focus on more than facilities, the campus environment and affordability. It offers the chance to highlight business partnerships, faculty who have high-caliber brands in a variety of fields, and the opportunities for earning credentials outside of degree programs.
But the affordability question will eventually come up. Schools should consider being proactive in their second-level marketing after an initial digital contact (email, direct mail, phone follow-up) to begin the conversation about how students plan to pay for college and what funding options will likely be available to them.