Your Higher Education Marketing Link of the Week… Xavier University: Academic Program Page… 8 December 2017

An Academic Program Page to Boost Student Recruitment Results

Xavier University BiologyAcademic program pages are a critical part of a recruitment-oriented content marketing strategy. And yet far too many higher education websites open with “Why Study (name of academic program)” written in traditional academic catalog style. Few human beings enjoy reading academic catalog content.

Today’s Link of the Week selection opens with a different writing style (first sentence: “If it runs. flies or crawls, it’s got your full attention.”), followed by 3 key link headings:

•Four-Year Course Sequence

•Biology Courses (but only 5 are included)

•Related Majors and Minors

Scrolling down the page potential students will see short blurbs on “Pre-Med,” “Student Research,” and “Cool Labs.” This section would be stronger if visitors were able to link from each topic to more information. Without that, some people who want to know more about, for instance, “Cool Labs,” will be frustrated.

Continue scrolling to see prominent icons highlighting, among other points, “14 labs on campus.” But you still can’t link from here to a list of the labs and more content about them. The message: academic program pages, even strong ones, benefit if they let people travel directly from major marketing points to more content to support them.

A strong section on “Medical School Early Acceptance Program” recognizes the career plans of many Biology majors and closes the page. People who get this far can’t miss the links to “Apply” or “Visit” or “Request Info.” That “next action step” opportunity is too often missing from academic program pages.

On Mobile…

The site earned a “Good” rating from Google Test My site for a 5 second mobile download speed. Google projects a 19 percent” visitor loss rate.

Follow the Link of the Week

To experience an academic program page that differs from most others in content, style, and speed… visit the Xavier University Biology page.

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2 Comments

  1. It looks like this is a typical admissions program page. It’s “admissions-ness’ has been disguised since it does not have an admissions banner at the top. But it is betrayed by the lack of concrete details and by the jarringly off-topic slideshow in the middle of the page about Pep Band.

    Far at the bottom of the page is a link to the actual department site: https://www.xavier.edu/biology-department/

    This “real” department site, while it doesn’t have the whiz-bang design or copy, is refreshingly light on academic jargon.

    I had been excited at the prospect of Xavier really doing something new with a real program site. This link seems more a clever rebranding (unbranding?) of an admissions program page.

  2. Matt, you make some good points here. Especially re the Pep Band bit. Overall, and after visiting an academic program page at each Jesuit university or college in this particular hunt, this page stood out from the rest. University of San Francisco Biology page also did well.”>University of San Francisco Biology page also did well from my perspective. What first got my attention at Xavier was the absence of the “Why Study Biology?” text that often opens pages like this.

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