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6 Bad Admission Page Trends You're Probably Guilty Of (And What to Do Instead)
Mia Major

Last month, Rick Newberry, President of the consulting firm Enrolment Catalyst, teamed up with our Director of Client Success Tim McDonough and yours truly to critique admission landing pages.

With nearly 100 admission landing pages submitted for feedback, we noticed that almost every school is doing the exact same things — and that's not necessarily a good thing.

Here are the top six bad trends most commonly appearing on independent school admission landing pages that you should totally remove, now.

Independent school admission

1. A Standard "Welcome" From Your Admissions Team

I get it — a "welcome" has been a long-standing formality on admission landing pages. But is that really your way to put your best foot forward? If "everyone else is doing it," shouldn't you do something to set yourself apart?

When someone clicks on "Admissions" — whether it's from your main navigation or Google search — it's because they are interested in your school. A lengthy welcome letter isn't the way to keep his or her attention.

TRY THIS INSTEAD

Instead of the letter, focus on selling value through testimonials, info-graphics, photos and videos. But, if you're dead-set on having your admissions landing page be a welcome, focus on the voice and content of your welcome. For example, Hawai'i Preparatory Academy begins their "Welcome" with "Aloha." In addition, their welcome letter is only supplemental content to the three (student-produced) videos that appear on the landing page.

admission page school website

2. Headshots of Admissions Staff

Is the formal head shot of your Director of Admission really going to get someone to click that "Enquire Now" button? No. (I mean, unless your Director of Admission is someone like Jimmy Fallon or Beyoncé...then maybe.)

Bottom line is that unless your Director of Admission is an extremely well-known and liked person in the industry or community, putting her or him at the helm of your admission marketing content isn't helping you. This kind of content does have its place — just not on your main admission landing page.

TRY THIS INSTEAD

Create a lower level page entitled "Meet our Admissions staff." On the page, include the head shots and contact information for each person on the team. In addition, ask your staff to provide a quick quote about what they love about your school or working in admissions to add some personalisation, personality, and authenticity to the page.

admission team

3. Having Only One Call-to-Action

If you went to a restaurant, and they only had one thing on the menu, and you didn't like it — wouldn't you leave? The same rationale applies to admission landing pages.

Having only one call-to-action — whether it be Apply or Enquire — limits visitors' options, and causes high bounce rates because they couldn't find that "next step" they were ready for.

TRY THIS INSTEAD

Think of the two types of prospective families visiting your admission pages: high-commitment and low-commitment visitors. High-commitment visitors are ready to apply, where as low-commitment visitors are still shopping around.

Since high-commitment visitors are most likely ready to apply, have one call-to-action directed towards them. Then, appeal to your low-commitment visitors with two more calls to action: one that requires a form submission (like Enquire Now) and one that doesn't (like Take a Virtual Tour). This way, you're creating a logical "next step" for all site visitors, prompting higher engagement and conversions, rather than only catering to one type of visitor.

pingry admission page

4. Really Long, Scripted Videos

Most schools have acknowledged the importance of video and hopped on the admissions video bandwagon. But they're not always executed just right. Many schools have videos that are 5+ minutes in length, and are a combination of narration and seemingly-scripted testimonials. The length isn't as important as the content.

As a videographer, let's just say that leading questions shouldn't just be banned from the courtroom, but from video production, too. They make things awkward, and your viewers can see right through it.

TRY THIS INSTEAD

We all know how important that admissions video is — and how it should be strategically placed at the top of your admissions landing page. But the content also matters.

Forman admission

Come up with 3-5 questions that you think will help yield great responses. Then, set aside a day or two to interview 5-10 students, faculty, and parents and ask those 3-5 questions on video. Listen to the stories they share, and the moments that meant the most to them. Then, compile those testimonials into a narrative that lasts 90 seconds to 3 minutes, and cover that narrative with video clips and photos that are representative of what is being discussed.


5. Lots of Text

If you have a lot of text on your admission landing page, you probably have a lot of text elsewhere on your site too. It's a hard habit to break. However, as we know — nobody reads anymore. And lots of text creates a poor user experience on mobile.

TRY THIS INSTEAD

Consider how you can replace paragraphs of text with the following elements:

  • A value statement: Summarise the value of your school's education and experiences in 1-2 sentences.
  • Student, Parent, and Faculty Testimonials
  • faculty testimonials

  • A short video (60 seconds – 3 minutes) that speaks to the value of your school
  • Fast facts as an info graphic
  • st sebatian's admission


    6. Linking to PDFs

    This causes a whole heap of issues for the user experience.

    Guilty of one or more of these bad trends? Here's what to do next.

    1. First, take an inventory of your content. What kinds of videos, testimonials, and fast facts do you already have available to you?
    2. Second, find new ways to re-purpose this content. For example, turn some of your fast facts into an infographic or take testimonials and highlight them on your page.
    3. Third, craft new calls to action. Be sure that you have a next step available for each type of visitor.

    And, as a great way to rethink your message site-wide, sign up for a Website Audit by our team. We'll be happy to help!



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