Our research on which stories are best aimed at recruiting students

Kristoffer H. Kingsrød
November 3, 2022

Video ‘Stories’ launched on websites have been viewed by thousands of students globally, giving them an authentic insight into the various courses that are being offered. These stories originate broadly within education, ranging from top tier universities with tens of thousands of students in Norway, to major colleges in the US and across Europe. We have evaluated the best performing stories to give you an overview of which are best for student recruitment so that you can do the same!

The most effective content of the story

  1. The everyday life of students

The everyday life of a student varies a lot from University to University, so stories in this instance can be used to answer questions like, are there any mandatory lectures? Is work both theoretical and or practical? or where is the best location to study for my exams? Using a story in frequently visited webpages by students allows others more knowledge of campus activities.  

Beginning a new chapter in your life can be nerve wrecking! And you can count that the new students feel the butterflies on their first day, we ask ourselves ‘What do I do? Where do I go?

The most effective stories talk and show everything, from the early morning lectures, work in group projects, what social events they can participate in after school, and even the café which serves the best coffees! There’s a lot to talk about in these kinds of stories, and believe it or not they help us relax. Their life from when they wake up to when they go to bed, can provide a good insight into what their life could be like!

  1. Location, location!

Students are interested in where the university or college is located, they want to know if the city and the environment will fit them and their lifestyle. Students often decide on location well before the program, so to show what’s unique about your location and the facilities you offer can definitely spike a potential students' interest.

  1. The study program

After showing the everyday life of a student and the location, another theme proven to be effective is to show details specific to their study program. What are you learning? What degree can you get? Can you be an exchange student? Is this course available online? Where can this lead my career? The more details provided, the more effective the story. Try to answer all of the questions new students might be wondering.

  1. The job opportunities

When choosing a career path the future job opportunities definitely have a big impact on candidates choices. What careers have other students began after studies? Can they use this degree when beginning another study programme? Showing the variety of the study program in terms of job opportunities is an effective way to communicate with prospective students. This will make the difference between the offerings more clear and help students find courses that suit them.

The most effective way of conveying your message

Current and former students sharing their experiences through their own words is shown to be the most effective and engaging way of showcasing your university. The reason for this is that content shared by students describing their experience is a lot more trustworthy than someone else presenting how they have“imagined it to be.” Focus on ‘Real talk’ rather than using actors or others that haven’t experienced it themselves.

The most effective place to add stories on your website

Adding stories to the study program page has proved to be the most effective placement. The reason for this is that students are constantly looking for more information about different study programs, and this allows them to dig deeper into the program they’re researching.

Having video on programs has become more and more crucial over time, current generations are familiar with stories and are used to the fast information that they provide, by using stories you are connecting with them in a familiar format that they can relate to.

Another benefit is that a lot of students are interested in more than just one study program. By giving them the opportunity to learn more about the program from previous students, can be the main reason for actually choosing one program over another. This extra conversion from prospective students to applicants can be a huge differentiating factor that separates your university or college from the rest in the area. Giving you even more applicants to your programs.

How to know which stories perform the best

If you start creating stories this way, by having students or alumni sharing their experiences and answering the most common questions, you can expect to get an average view time of between 45 and 90 seconds. Your visitors have a short attention span and several study programs to evaluate, so if they take their time and watch more than just some seconds, you have done a really good job creating your stories. If they didn’t like the content, they would not have taken the time to watch it.

The reason why average view time is such a good indicator for the value students get from stories is that the longer they watch, the more value they receive. This is also the parameter social medias are using when suggesting content for you to watch. If the content is bad, you would only watch for a couple of seconds. If it’s good, you would get some valuable information from it.

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