SOURCE: Noel-Levitz


July 20, 2011 11:18 ET

New Report Finds That Nearly 60 Percent of Prospective College Students Are Researching College Choices With Their Parents

Both Parents and Students Look for Links Related to Academic Programs and Admissions Information When First Visiting College Web Sites

IOWA CITY, IA--(Marketwire - Jul 20, 2011) - The college research process appears to be a collaborative one for most prospective students and their parents. In a recent study, 59 percent of college-bound high school seniors said they researched colleges with their parents, while 66 percent of their parents said they were researching colleges with their children.

This finding comes from the new report, "The Online Expectations of Prospective College Students and Their Parents." The report is the latest in the ongoing E-Expectations series, a research project analyzing the online expectations and behaviors of college-bound high school students conducted by Noel-Levitz, the leading higher education consulting firm; OmniUpdate, the leading Web content management system (CMS) provider to higher education; and the National Research Center for College & University Admissions (NRCCUA), a non-profit education research organization that conducts the nation's largest educational planning survey among high school students.

The 2011 E-Expectations study surveyed more than 1,043 college-bound high school seniors and 517 of their parents. In addition to reporting that they were researching colleges together, 49 percent of students and 61 percent of parents said the final decision on where to enroll would also be done together.

"It's clear that, at least half of the time, a college is not just recruiting a high school student. The parents are also involved, and they bring a different perspective and perhaps a different set of expectations," said Kevin Crockett, president and CEO of Noel-Levitz. "With the escalating cost of attendance, too, it's likely that parents also want reassurance that an institution is a good investment, which probably explains why 42 percent of parents said they first look for academic information on a school's Web site."

Regarding online cost calculators -- which will be required by federal law starting October 2011 -- 36 percent of students and 26 percent of parents said they had used one; the numbers were 28 percent and 20 percent respectively when asked if they had used scholarship calculators. For those who had used neither, nearly 50 percent of students and 67 percent of parents said they had not seen one.

The study also examined the influence of social media. Among students, 80 percent said they had a Facebook account; the number was 48 percent for parents. While 27 percent of those students said they had visited a college Facebook page, only 12 percent of parents on Facebook had done the same. Twitter participation was far lower, with only 9 percent of students and 5 percent of parents saying they had a Twitter account. With YouTube, 27 percent of students and 17 percent of parents said they had searched for schools there.

"What we're seeing here is that the Web site is still by far the primary driver for information about a campus," says Lance Merker, president and CEO of OmniUpdate. "Most students and parents come to a campus site and want the nuts and bolts of attendance. Social media supports that information for a significant number of students, but it is not the main attraction when it comes to recruitment. However, I would not be surprised to see its influence continue to grow in the enrollment process."

The findings will be presented at the Noel-Levitz National Conference on Student Recruitment, Marketing, and Retention, July 26-28, Denver, and at the virtual E-Recruitment Forum, sponsored by CollegeWeekLive, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Noel-Levitz, and planned for August 18.

To see the full report, visit:

About the sponsors

Noel-Levitz has consulted with 2,700 public and private institutions, helping these campuses and systems reach their goals for enrollment, marketing, and student success at the undergraduate and graduate/professional levels.

OmniUpdate is the leading Web content management system (CMS) provider for higher education. OmniUpdate's enterprise Web CMS, OU Campus™, empowers institutions to effectively manage and enhance their Web presence and take advantage of the latest web and mobile technologies. OU Campus is secure and scalable, offering a complete feature set, extensible tools, and deployment flexibility supported by exceptional customer service and extensive community resources. More than 550 college and university Web sites are managed using OU Campus.

NRCCUA (National Center for College & University Admissions)
NRCCUA conducts the nation's largest educational planning survey among high school students. This valuable program facilitates a key link between the individual educational goals and preferences of students and the vast offerings of colleges and universities. Services include student search programs, printed and online recruitment publications, and Web-based communications resources.

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