For Higher Ed, the Future is Mobile

According to a new survey by Noel-Levitz, 52 percent of prospective college students said they viewed a college’s mobile site in 2011 – twice as many as the year prior. A whopping 48 percent claimed mobile helped strengthen their perception of the college. 48 percent!

That certainly begs the question: what are you doing to create, enhance, or improve your institution’s mobile website? If the answer is nothing, then you are not alone:

Perhaps most alarming for schools competing for incoming students: According to West Virginia University (WVU) programmer Dave Olsen, nine in 10 colleges don’t have a mobile website.

That’s not surprising. Anyone who has worked in higher education knows we are often far behind our business world peers. Still, we must remember that bureaucracy is a barrier to innovation in any oranization; it isn’t an excuse for PR to sit back and wait for others to take the lead. And if others have, it’s also on us to make sure we have a seat at the table.

Of course, we have to be strategic and do our research – especially if we are considering developing our own native or web apps:

The recent mobile-web survey showed that colleges shouldn’t rush to develop their own mobile apps for iPhones and Androids. Seven in 10 respondents said they were “happy” to research the school’s offerings through a mobile site rather than finding and downloading the college’s app.

Either way, for those of us who have been sitting back, this recent report should be a wakeup call. The future isn’t coming sooner. It’s here.


Mike Lesczinski

Mike Lesczinski is a former political communications and campaign operative turned public relations pro. The communications chair for the Capital Region chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Mike is currently in charge of PR for a private, nonprofit college.

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