West Point Admissions Website Live
Research and Design
West Point, named the top college in the country in Forbes Magazine 2009 edition of “America’s Best Colleges,” has a new Admissions website: http://admissions.usma.edu/.
Paskill Stapleton & Lord began working with the Admission team at West Point conducting background research for marketing purposes and to inform new web pages. Our research uncovered that the military aspects of the Academy were obvious and well known to both prospects and parents. What was not apparent was the breadth, depth and quality of the academic programs. PS&L also learned that the Academy’s Admissions pages were not supporting the social aspects of the West Point experience.
The copy and images of the Admissions pages representing cadet life all focused on the military training, and very little on the academic, social and leadership opportunities that are integral to the cadet experience. We learned from the research, that many prospective cadets and their families do not have the opportunity to visit the Academy in person, and their perceptions are often based solely on what they gleaned from the website and print publications. As a result, the perceptions were one dimensional – all military, all the time. Current West Point cadets, and those prospects who were able to visit and spend time at the institution, said their perception of the campus and the experience changed dramatically once they arrived – and for the better.
We also learned that the functionality and navigation of the Admissions pages were not intuitive. As a result, the prospective cadet felt the need to contact their recruiting officer numerous times, to be certain they were keeping up with what was expected of them in the admissions process. Prospective cadets and felt a great deal of uncertainty in the process – they wanted more from the Admissions pages.
The new web pages are a reflection of PS&L utilizing the research findings to inform the design, functionality and the content of the pages. The “language,” while needing to address the complexity of the West Point admissions process, is also in keeping with the language of a college website. Likewise, a balance is achieved in relating a cadet experience to what they would expect at many top colleges.
Additionally, the new Admissions pages for West Point allow the prospective cadet and family to see the process ahead of them, and stay on top of deadlines and requirements. The new pages break a complex process into manageable, smaller bites, but still allow prospects and parents to view the application and admissions process as a whole, and anticipate the next steps. It puts the prospect into the driver’s seat of the application process. Prospects also now have easy access to both the staff and the recruiters, and can communicate with those who can be most helpful.
For more information about the web and interactive services Paskill Stapleton & Lord offers, visit: http://www.psandl.com/service_web.php
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