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New Research: Digital Admissions — How Prospective Teens Use Online Tools in College Search and Choice

New Digital Admissions research offers rich insights into the nuances of prospective teen students’ behavior during the college search and selection process.

mStoner, Inc. and TargetX designed a survey focusing on how prospective teen students use a range of digital tools — social media, websites, email, and digital ads — as they make this vital decision in their lives, and what information is most helpful at each stage of the journey. We conducted the survey in late spring, 2019.


Key findings include:

  • Teens use social media extensively in their personal lives and in college search and choice. But college social channels are not hugely influential in their decision about where to enroll. And while 63% liked or followed a university social channel, they consume content but don’t often interact with people there.
  • Websites are critical to college search and choice: 54% of respondents said it was very or extremely important in their decision about where to apply and 92% said that the university website was more important than the college’s social media.
  • When it comes to enrollment, the number one influence is in-person or phone interactions with friends who attend the college.
  • Nearly 75% of respondents have seen ads for colleges online; a majority (56%) clicked on them. They’re also aware of ads on social media: 46% of those who noticed an ad said that they had no impact on their impression of the institution.

Last month Michael Stoner, president of mStoner, and Sasha Peterson, CEO of TargetX, presented a first look at the research findings and gave recommendations on where colleges and universities can focus digital enrollment marketing time and energy for maximum ROI. 

Sign Up Now To Receive:

  • Early access to the Digital Admissions white paper, before it is publicly released
  • Instant access to the Digital Admissions presentation recording and slide deck