Thanks to smartphone cameras, selfies, Instagram, and Snapchat, students who have grown up in the age of social media look to images to not only support online content, but to be part of the narrative. From travel photos to food shots to party pictures, prospective college students often tell their own stories visually when sharing with others. As they begin their college search process, they are naturally drawn to college website photos that both tell a story and draw them toward important content about the institution.
But what kinds of images resonate with today’s college-bound students?
The 2018 E-Expectations survey asked high school juniors and seniors to weigh in, showing them a variety of photos similar to what they would see on college websites. These images were tested for general interest and general appeal. These photo findings are a supplement to the 2018 E-Expectations Trend Report (download now).
Students looked at 10 images and were asked to rank the photos in two ways:
1) Which photo would make an institution look the most appealing
2) How students felt about a photo, using five provided responses:
- Excited to see this campus in person
- Curious to learn more about the school
- No strong feelings
- The photo does not inspire interest
- The photo would drive me away from enrolling
The most appealing college website photos
The following five photos were the ones students said made the college look most appealing. Interestingly, these rankings did not always align with their rankings for excitement about a photo.
FIFTH: College arena
March Madness provides a month’s worth of media coverage and national excitement for dozens of colleges and universities, but this arena shot ranked in the middle of the photo pack. It was the sixth most appealing college website photo for seniors and fifth for juniors. However, 50 percent of juniors said they would get excited to see this campus in person, the highest excitement rating for juniors. [Read more…]