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How to Improve Your Design Game in Your Admissions Materials

Kristi Wire


Congratulations—you’ve been admitted! In new students' minds, emotions can run deep—they are excited and overwhelmed by the pivotal transition about to take place in their lives. Before selecting online courses or moving into the dorms, how might higher ed marketers better provide information to the students of tomorrow?

Researching and understanding what your admissions material needs are and applying design best practices will enhance your university or college's experience, from freshmen to non-trads.

Start with 'Why'

Dates, places, programs, patterns—what does a student need to know before, during and after he or she is admitted? How can admissions materials help simplify what their choices are and influence major decisions from move-in day to graduation? Meet with your key stakeholders to address what you and your students could encounter during this journey. Asking questions and compiling observations will uncover unmet needs and provide solid research from which to start designing.

Make it Personal

Catching one’s attention with emotion and intellect is crucial. Stories and connection draw people together—why not apply this approach to your college, university or tech school?

London Metropolitan University’s “Do Something You Love” campaign not only empowers students to be passionate about their industries, but the university is also dedicated to employability. This campaign showed a broad spectrum of demographics while connecting through emotions.

Time is of the Essence

Online video consumption and Instagram stories are on the rise with more than a billion users. With every online media platform at people’s fingertips, content and keeping up with current trends has never been more impactful on macro and micro levels—and sometimes at no cost.

MIT is one of the first universities in the world to post recorded lectures on YouTube for free.  Khan Academy’s website and YouTube channel provide a wide variety of educational tutorials to promote their educational opportunities and engage with people in a hands-on way.

Include a Call to Action

What do you want people to do after going through their admissions packets or your homepage? Spell it out to keep the conversation going. As a rule of thumb, one to three calls to action at a time are easy to digest and flexible enough to provide students with options from which to choose.

Lastly, when you observe and gather research, you will uncover unmet needs for your university, college or tech school. These needs are then applied to designed admissions materials by visually connecting students’ emotions, current trends and calls to action.

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