3 New Survey Results Admissions and Marketing Professionals Need to Know

Working at Computers

One of the fun parts of our day job is helping Higher Ed marketing and admissions executives bring their brand story to life in ways that create “wow” with college prospects.  With new clients, at conferences and during webinars, I consistently hear the same questions:

  • “What research exists to show what messaging resonates most with prospects?”
  • “What social media platforms should we be using and how can we best use them to engage prospects?”
  • “How is the prospect journey experience changing?”

Like any good business partner, I looked for the answers from available data.  When I didn’t find helpful, pre-existing information, I gathered the answers myself.

The result is the inaugural 2016 College Prospect Survey which focuses on the “what,” the “how,” and the “why” for undergraduate prospects at each stage of the prospect funnel.

I’m excited to share three new insights gleaned from the survey as well as invite you to sign-up for the full results from the upcoming white paper which we’ll be publishing later this week.

First, here is a quick look at the survey participant demographics:

  • 330 high school juniors and seniors were polled – every participant is planning on attending a 4-year college
  • 15 different high schools were represented, with an even distribution of socioeconomic status
  • 43% male, 57% female
  • Approximately one-third of respondents are first generation college attendees

Now, the fun stuff:

How Prospects First Learn About Universities


Web-based search (Google/web search and college ranking websites) combine to account for more than 44% of the starting blocks for prospects’ college journey. Surprisingly, social media is relatively insignificant at the top of the prospect funnel (6.1%).

Which Social Media Platforms Should you Use to Engage Prospects


Were you expecting Snapchat to be higher on the list? We were too, based on the prevalence of the questions we get about the rapidly rising platform. However, the most mature social platforms are still winning the day with Facebook leading the way by a large margin with 43% of respondents.

When we flipped the question and asked prospects about the platform they wished schools paid more attention to, Snapchat won by a landslide with YouTube ranking second.

What Stands out to Prospects on the Campus Visit



Seventy-eight percent of prospects cite the campus visit as increasing the likelihood of attending that school.

Not surprisingly, the campus visit emerged as one of the most influential points in the prospect funnel.   Our white paper explores how to address key message points during this essential conversion opportunity.

Interested in additional feedback from prospects, and actionable advice on how this plays into your marketing and admissions strategy? Sign up for StoriedU newsletters above to be the first to hear when the new white paper goes live!


**update** Download the 2016 College Prospect Survey white paper here.

About Jay Sharman

Jay Sharman is the CEO and founder of TeamWorks Media, a purpose-driven marketing company in Chicago’s West Loop. TeamWorks helps not-for-profit and higher education clients combine purpose and profit by creating innovative marketing strategies... More about Jay Sharman »

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