This Is The No. 1 Deciding Factor For College Applicants

Diversity is a top factor that students consider in a college campus community.

A survey of high school seniors by Niche found that a diverse student body was appealing to 42% of respondents—more than 20,000 students were surveyed. An additional 37% said diversity was a “must-have” in their college experience. 45% said diversity among faculty and staff was appealing and an additional 31% identified it as a must-have community feature.

“The key takeaways from this year’s survey are to focus on meeting students when and where they are – with the relevant information that matters most to them,” according to Niche. “Emails that provide value and link back to highly relevant landing pages build trust, relationships, and affinity. Students need more information, more context, and more excitement.”


Among other takeaways from the survey—only 9% of high school seniors say they were receiving very personalized and relevant outreach. 27% of respondents say that all colleges look and sound alike.

Those numbers are important because a whopping 67% of students also say they were influenced by the personalized and relevant information they received.

“Personalized and relevant outreach is a major influencer in where students consider and ultimately apply, especially to traditionally underrepresented students,” according to Niche. “However, the share of students saying that all colleges sound the same increased from 15% last year to 27% this year. Small changes in communications and simplifying the application process by rethinking what is needed to make a decision or by implementing new strategies, such as direct admissions, will go a long way toward earning student interest.”


52% of respondents said that a college’s brand name was “somewhat important” in influencing their interest. 12% of respondents said that it was “very important” to them—and only 4% of students surveyed said that a college’s brand or name recognition was not at all important in influencing their interest.

“The most common themes students mentioned in their thoughts about a college’s name and brand recognition were around jobs and careers, more opportunities, and the strength of the brand as a measure of the quality of the education,” according to Niche.

Sources: Niche, Inside Higher Ed

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.