College's website earns top national ranking

My College Options Enrollment Power Index (EPI), a division of the National Research Center for College and University Admissions (NRCUA) has ranked Hanover College’s website among the best in the nation. The College placed 44th of nearly 3,000 college and university websites profiled in the organization’s 14th annual study.

“Our website is the electronic window to our campus,” said Hanover President Sue DeWine. “Being placed among the top 100 tells us that we are meeting the needs and expectations of our external community.”

Director of Web Communications Joe Lackner and Web Development Specialist Benjamin Stilson were the architects of the site, launched in 2010. Rounding out the team were Hanover alumnus Jamie Tomes, who serves as an internet marketing specialist for Papa Johns International, Inc., and Hanover Senior Director of Communications and Marketing Rhonda Burch. They based the design and navigation decisions on extensive feedback from tri-state area high school students, as well as internal and external audiences.

Since that time, the site has continued to grow in the number of visits each year. Year over year visits have increased 46 percent; the number of online applications between the 2011-12 and 2012-13 academic years has risen by almost 75 percent.

Based in Lee’s Summit, Mo., MyCollegeOptions.org is the nation’s largest online college planning program. Every summer, its staff of college admissions and internet experts conducts a research-based analysis that measures how well college and university websites provide information to prospective students to assist them through the application process
“Very few institutions are able to keep up with the rapidly increasing demands of prospective students when it comes to the online user experience,” said Don Munce, President of NRCCUA. “To be rated in the top 100 Admissions websites is a powerful statement that the institution has a focus on the cutting-edge.”

The study grades institutions on a 100-point scale, including functionality, design and technology components. Internal experts, as well as current high school students, review and update the criteria for the study annually, using statistical analysis to determine the specific enrollment criteria and their relative importance to students in college planning.

This year’s study examined 38 different criteria in four main categories: ability to find desired information, personal contact with admissions staff and students, online interactive tools and website design and navigation. Additional information on the EPI study is available at www.nrccua.org/epi-report.