Survey of Prospective Students and Families

A couple weeks ago, we created a survey to be taken by people on campus tours to determine how they use the current website in an effort to improve their experience on the new site.  In just one week, we had 184 responses.  Some of the results are listed below, and are relative to the number of people who responded to each question.  Note: some percentages may not sum to 100% due to rounding.

The actual survey.

Of the 184 responses, there were:
132 (72%) prospective students
51 (28%) parents
1 (<1%) other relative

They were asked if they have visited the site: never, a few times, frequently, or other.
22 (12%) had never visited the site
15 (8%) specified they had only visited once or twice
129 (70%) visited a few times
18 (10%) were frequent visitors

They were asked to rank in order of importance (1 being most important) the following categories: admission requirements, financial aid, academics, athletics, arts, student life, campus, and events (relative ranks based on results in parentheses).
Admission Requirements (2):
30 (18%) did not find this information important
2.85 average ranking of those who did find it important.
Financial Aid (7):
83 (49%) did not find this information important
5.14 average ranking of those who did find it important.
Academics (1):
25 (15%) did not find this information important
2.00 average ranking of those who did find it important.
Athletics (5):
48 (28%) did not find this information important
4.20 average ranking of those who did find it important.
Arts (6):
74 (43%) did not find this information important
5.03 average ranking of those who did find it important.
Student Life (3):
46 (27%) did not find this information important
3.32 average ranking of those who did find it important.
Campus (4):
63 (37%) did not find this information important
3.80 average ranking of those who did find it important.
Events (8):
86 (50%) did not find this information important
6.08 average ranking of those who did find it important.

Further, 21 (13%) cared about other information, most notably information on tours, visiting, and directions.

They were next asked to rate how easily they found the information they wanted (1-hardest to 10-easiest)
7.66 average ranking

They were asked to classify the length of their average visit as: a few minutes, 10-15 minutes, 30-6- minutes, or over an hour.
50 (32%) said a few minutes
89 (57%) said 10-15 minutes
17 (11%) said 30-60 minutes
1 (<1%) said over an hour

They were given 4 adjectives (enjoyable, useful, nondescript, frustrating) and asked to check all that described their experience with the website.
39 (26%) said enjoyable
135 (89%) said useful
16 (11%) said nondescript
3 (2%) said frustrating

They were asked if they had taken the virtual campus tour.
14 (8%) had taken the virtual tour

Those who had not taken the virtual tour were asked if they might have if they knew it existed.
89 (59%) said yes

Lastly, they were asked if they would join Middlebury social networks such as Facebook or following on Twitter.
46 (28%) said yes.



2 Responses to “Survey of Prospective Students and Families”

  1. Hi Ben,

    This is interesting stuff— thanks (to you and your team) for taking the time to put the survey together.

    I’m curious: how do you interpret these results? Are there lessons to be drawn from them for the current site?

    Jason

  2. That’s a tricky question, Jason. This survey focuses on just one of the audiences for the Middlebury site. The statistics above lead me to believe that prospective students and their parents do not have the same issues with the current site as current students, staff/faculty, alums, etc. I would be surprised if 26% of these other audiences would say they enjoy their time on the website, just like I’d expect more than 2% find it frustrating.

    The difficult part is finding a way to improve usability for the majority of users while not suffering any setbacks in (and hopefully improving) the usability of those who have few complaints. So far, I think we are on the right track.

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