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2013 E-Expectations Report Contains a Few Surprises

August 9, 2013

This year's Noel Levitz E-Expectations Report: The Impact of Mobile Browsing on the College Search Process shows—not surprisingly—that 70 percent of the students responding say that an institution's website affects their perception of the college or university. In addition, 78 percent of respondents have regular access to a mobile device.

While 82 percent of prospective students say they prefer to view college websites from a PC/Laptop, 68 percent have looked at a college website from a mobile device. These mobile devices are most likely to be a smart phones (47%) followed by a cell phone with web access (20%), iPod touch (10%), and tablet (7%).

Nearly three out of four respondents are interested in mobile apps for a specific institution; 20 percent have already downloaded an available college or university app. Of the students surveyed, the majority—71 percent or higher—would like the app to help them look at school choices and match them to the best option, help them explore general scholarship opportunities, provide an application for the school, and enable them to complete enrollment at a specific school. Only 37 percent reported an interest in participating in live chats.

Here are the top five content areas that prospective students look for when using mobile devices to connect to an institution's website: academic programs (listings and details of majors), orientation details, directory/contact lists, applications, and enrollment/admission information.

When it comes to email, 98 percent of students would open an email from a college in which they are interested; 68 percent would open an email from a college they did not know.

Interestingly, the report shows a noteworthy drop in social media use. While 79 percent of survey respondents in 2012 used Facebook, for example, Facebook usage dropped to 67 percent in 2013. In addition, fewer students are visiting institutional Facebook pages. In 2012, approximately two out of three students (67%) had visited a Facebook page for a specific school, while only about one in three (35%) did so in 2013. Other social media sites—Google+, Pinterest, and Tumblr—all significantly decreased in usage from 2012 to 2013. Twitter use, however, remains constant, at 27.5 percent of students.

The report includes several recommendations for colleges and universities, such as:

  • Provide a web experience that serves both PC and mobile visitors.
  • Consider offering students a mobile app.
  • Make relevant, well-organized website content the central pillar of your recruitment strategy.
  • Design emails with smaller screens in mind.
  • Maintain a balanced portfolio of traditional and electronic communications.

The 2013 E-Expectations Report can be downloaded for free from the Noel Levitz website.


Natalie Pullaro Davis
Manager, Research and Policy Analysis