ADMISSIONS WEB SITE GETS NATIONAL RANKING
Old Dominion University's admissions Web site has been ranked among the Top 10 of the country's doctoral/research institutions by the nonprofit National Research Center for College & University Admissions (NRCCUA), the leading organization connecting young people and their families with colleges and universities.
The organization's seventh annual Enrollment Power Index, a research-based analysis that was released Sept. 20, rates how well the functionality and design of college and university Web sites provide information to potential students to take them from prospect to applicant.
"Prospective college students are very Internet-savvy, and they have come to expect the admissions sections of university Web sites to providecritical information to help them make decisions," said Don Munce, president of NRCCUA. "If the sites don't provide what they need, with the ease of navigation they expect, they'll go elsewhere. A quality Web site can now be the difference between a lost prospect and a new student."
ODU's site ranked seventh in its category. The University of New Orleans was first, followed by Loyola University of Chicago and Texas Woman's University.
The NRCCUA study examined 28 criteria from the following categories:
Prominence of an admissions office link on the institution's home page;
Admissions Web page design and ease of navigation;
Online access to admissions materials;
Additional admissions information; and
Ability to contact the admissions office.
According to Alice McAdory, ODU executive director of admissions, as technology has advanced, so too have the expectations of prospective students. "They want to do everything online."
Over the past few years, in fact, the admissions office has been modifying its Web site based on feedback from prospective students and their parents.
"We went to high schools and open houses, and asked students what they were looking for on a college Web site," McAdory said. "I think that helped a lot. We've also made changes based on questions and comments we get in the office, through our chat rooms, from e-mail responses to our student Blog Squad and via our LivePerson service."
LivePerson is a service that allows Web site visitors secure, real-time access to the admissions staff between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.
The admissions office will soon introduce a new feature on its Web site, an online community where students can talk to each other before they apply, after they apply and after they're admitted, McAdory said. The students can even post pictures and other information about themselves.
"Through this service, you can get to know somebody before you even come to campus," McAdory said. "It's just another way to ease concerns for incoming students. I think it's good for them to already have a connection before they arrive."
Also in the plans, for the immediate future, is a redesign of the site to make it more attractive. And next fall, McAdory said she hopes to add a videotaped tour to the site, whereby prospective students can virtually follow a student guide as he leads a tour of the campus grounds and buildings. The online tour will be accompanied by music that is performed by a band composed of recent ODU graduates. The visual tour also will highlight success stories of alumni from each college.
This article was posted on: September 20, 2005
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