Mobile makes its way into students’ college searches, though e-mail continues to prevail

student digital media preferences

A new study by shows that students are researching information on college websites from their mobile devices, though traditional channels such as email are still relied upon most to keep students on track during their college searches.

The Cappex study of more than 2,000 class of 2011 and 2012 high school students, as well as 82 college admission officers, also shows that videos are more popular for college searching than blogs on college sites.

Specific findings from the study include:

  • 86 percent of 2011 high school grads prefer e-mail for initial contact from colleges
  • Just 19 percent of 2011 high school grads want initial direct contact from colleges by cell phone, though 32 percent prefer to continue a dialogue with college admissions reps by cell phone
  • 77 percent of 2011 high school grads prefer using a mobile-friendly version of a college’s website, while 23 percent would prefer to download an app from a college
  • Class of 2012 high school students are somewhat more receptive to apps: 35 percent would prefer to download an app
  • 34 percent of colleges surveyed said that they have created a mobile-friendly version of their website. Of those that have not yet created one, two thirds plan to create one this year
  • More than 85 percent of 2011 high school seniors prefer to learn about colleges through video tours and student videos, while just 6 percent are interested in reading college blogs during their college searches

“When it comes to communicating with colleges, students are more open than ever to using their mobile devices and cell phones, though colleges need to understand their preferences,” said Chris Long, president of Cappex. “For instance, students may not want to download an app from every college they are looking at, but they will visit a college’s website using their mobile devices.”

“Colleges need to be sure to set up mobile versions of their sites to cater to growing mobile use among students,” Long added. “Additionally, colleges should continue using tried and true methods such as e-mail to make it easy for students to keep track of their interactions with colleges.”

The white paper summarizing the study can be found at

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