Student recruitment Top Task (how much will it cost?) gets rare home page priority at St. Olaf, Edgewood colleges
This week we highlight two different approaches to helping potential undergrad students complete a top task priority: how much will your college cost? Or, put a different way, how far below the “sticker price” can I reduce your cost?
As important as completing this task is for most new students searching for a college, almost no college or university gives prominent home page placement to how someone might complete the task. The prevailing sentiment hasn’t changed much over the last 20 or so years: hook them on the glory of our school first, talk costs later. Today, that’s not marketing-smart.
Two different approaches…
Each college takes a different approach. The similarity is the content placement and the speed of top task completion.
- St. Olaf College uses the marvelous 6-step alternative to the usual FAFSA-like net cost estimators found at most schools. Wellesley University introduced this format several years ago and 66 “participating schools” are listed now at the MyIntuition website. Don’t miss the 1-minute video that introduces the 6 steps to a likely profile of need-based awards. We visited the home pages of about half of these schools. Only at St. Olaf did we find a home page link.
- Edgewood College employs two sliding bars to let potential students see if they qualify for “at least” a $20,200 merit award that reduces the sticker price from $31,700 to $11,400, an amount “comparable to the current annual undergraduate tuition and fee rate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.”
Everyone’s content strategy should focus first on ensuring easy, rapid top task completion for potential students. That starts by giving over scarce home page space to cost and scholarship estimators so that anyone scanning the page in 5 seconds or less can’t miss the relevant links.
That will potential students (and their parents) happier than watching a drone video of people walking across a campus quad. Both St. Olaf and Edgewood have resisted that trend.
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