Admissions website ranked among nation's best
Friday, September 23, 2005
The NRCCUA’s seventh annual Enrollment Power Index, an analysis of admissions websites, gave Northwestern’s site an A grade based on functionality, design and information provided to potential students. Only 130 post-secondary institutions received an A out of more than 3,000 involved in the study.
“This is a well-deserved honor and a credit to the people who put our new website together,” says Mark Bloemendaal, director of admissions. “Because students are increasingly using the Internet to search for colleges, it’s critical to have a good site. Admissions officers understand that it’s crucial for their websites to be up-to-date, easily navigable, attractive and thorough.”
Northwestern launched a new website, www.nwciowa.edu, in May. More than five times larger than the previous site, it includes student profiles for each academic department, numerous quotes from students and alumni, extensive information about academic programs, and front-page features that change frequently.
“The response we’ve gotten from prospective students and their parents is it’s a very good site,” says Bloemendaal. He adds that two-thirds of Northwestern’s applications for admission are now submitted online.
Northwestern’s website was developed under the leadership of Dan Robinson, web development manager, and Anita Cirulis and Tamara Fynaardt, associate directors of public relations at NWC.
The NRCCUA study examined 28 criteria in five main categories: prominence of an admissions office link on the institution’s home page, admissions webpage design and ease of navigation; online access to admissions materials; additional admissions information; and ability to contact the admissions office.
To identify the website features that have the most significant impact on students’ perception of the site, an e-mail survey was sent to over 100,000 college-bound high school students asking them to rate admissions websites. Next, over 3,000 sites were evaluated to identify functional features present on each site. Statistical tests were then used to identify the features that were important to students and their relative importance.