Choosing which college to attend is an important decision for anyone pursuing higher education — one that can be quite stressful and overwhelming for prospective students and their families. There are so many factors to consider: Do you want to go to a big school or a smaller school? Would you like to venture far from home or explore a new part of the city you grew up in? What's the student culture like? And how much is your education going to cost?
Wilkes University, a private college in northeastern Pennsylvania, offers world-class undergraduate and graduate level coursework with all the benefits of a close-knit, smaller university. The campus boasts an average class size of just 18 students, and has a student to faculty ratio of 12:1.
"Wilkes offers a really personalized mentoring approach to its students while also providing the educational opportunities of a large research institution," explains Mandy Pennington, Director of Digital Marketing at Wilkes University. "As a university, we're really focused on providing an exceptional education to our students, giving them opportunities to get hands-on learning experiences, and build relationships with their professors and classmates."
This approach extends to the prospective student's entire decision-making journey. The university's website plays a crucial role as its biggest channel for engagement with potential students. For prospective undergraduates, the journey to enrollment begins with college-bound high schoolers evaluating which schools they want to apply to — a process which involves plenty of online research about everything from tuition, to college rankings, to the academic and athletic programs available. Then, once admissions decisions arrive, accepted students begin the task of reviewing financial aid offers and researching student life. (For prospective graduate students, the road to enrollment is generally shorter, but they ask plenty of questions online while making final decisions.)
Although Wilkes did provide answers to some Frequently Asked Questions on its website, those FAQs could not address the more nuanced questions that prospective students were asking. So when the Marketing Communications department began the process of a comprehensive website redesign, Pennington knew adding a good site search tool was critical.