The User Experience of Scheduling a Visit

Scheduling a campus visit is common practice. Prospective students and families are regularly using .edu websites to arrange campus tours or sign up for information sessions. It’s an expected part of the college selection process.

Do we make it easy? Not usually.

Often:

  • The forms are dense and clunky. There are lots of fields to complete and what seems like a lot of unnecessary information is required.
  • The registration form doesn’t work well on a phone. It’s difficult to see the date and time options.
  • There’s lots of clicking to get to the right web page for registering for the visit.

Pretending I wanted to visit, I spent some time on a few .edu sites. Here’s what I found:

Clemson made it easy to get there from my laptop. From the Clemson homepage, Visit is in the global nav and Register for a Tour is obvious from the Visit page.

Clemson Visit

Cornell has an impressive mobile experience — cornell.edu/visit works well and you can quickly get to a calendar with a list of tour times by day.

Cornell Visit

Paul Smith’s College makes it easy. Finding the visit dates is straightforward and completing the registration form on a phone was simple.

Paul Smith's

Virginia Tech offers a clear cut way to register for a campus visit. Each step in the path is presented and the experience is a very good one.

Virginia TechVirginia TechVT

 

In the broadest of terms, we need to do a better job on the user experience for scheduling visits and tours:

  • We are a generation of individuals who use our phones to book a flight, get a reservation at our favorite restaurant, and order shoes. Expectations about the mobile web don’t change when prospective students and parents get to .edu sites.
  • Fully accustomed to using the Internet to find information and do stuff, requests for too much personal data are barriers. High school seniors will do the digital version of never mind and bounce away from web forms that ask for too much.

Is your college or university offering a great user experience for prospective students and families? I’d love to feature your site’s approach to scheduling campus tours and visits. Use the comments to let me know what you’re up to.

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Author: susantevans

Susan T. Evans is director of corporate and foundations relations at the College of William & Mary. She is a proven strategic leader with deep expertise in advancement, communications, brand management, marketing, digital strategy, technology, administration and organizational development. She is known for creative and strategic approaches to challenges within higher education, nonprofits and business.

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