I only took a quick look, but I did not see a link from studera.nu to their blog, which seems a bit odd.
Tip of the hat to the ever awesome studera.nu facebook group for this.
I notice that they don’t allow comments on their blog (which misses the point of having a blog, I think) so if there is anything you want to add about their posts, feel free to leave it here.
Finally, with my SEO hat on, it seems they have a bit of a problem with the page rank of both this blog and studera.nu, which seems odd given that every university in Sweden links to them.
Updated: I recently had a great conversation with VHS/studera.nu who explained that they do not, currently, have the resources to deal with the volume of questions they receive from the their blog site, nor can they enable comments at this time. The blog is only there to report on the status of their website, studera.nu. As a result, I’ve taken down the link to their contact site as they cannot guarantee a response to questions about applications and admission procedure. For the time being, use the contact information available at studera.nu.
Students value website content over the ‘look and feel’ of a university website, are put off by out of date information and want to be contacted through social networking. These are some of the results of a new survey by Noel Levitz, who surveyed 1000 college bound students in the US.
The report totally emphasizes the power of content when it shows that an alarming 57% of the respondents would drop a school off their list, of possible study destinations, if the website content is out of date, incorrect or unhelpful. This is in contrast to the lower 16% who said they’d take a school off their list if they don’t find what they need. Morale – big sites with unmanaged stinking content (to coin one of Gerry McGovern’sfavourite phrases) are damaging your brand.
The report also indicates a willingness to read content and scroll through content. What’s interesting about this data is that it also shows a high frequency of printing or emailing the content – both actions which could be tracked, and used to measure the performance of the page.
When I first saw this report mentioned on Twitter the information that only 3% of applicants found a school online via research on MySpace or Facebook seemed a little surprising at first; but it only takes a few seconds thought to realize that people don’t begin a search on a social networking site. Further, the survey then goes on to show that students are positive about universities using social networks to promote their courses, or contact the students directly. I think an excellent opportunity for this, in the Swedish Higher Education sector, is with the awesome studera.nu- national admissions to Swedish higher education facebook group. Huge opportunities exist, to help students in the recruitment process, if the universities and studera.nu itself, were to engage with the students there.
There’s a lot of good stuff packed in this 12 page report; and it totally emphasizes the value of simply asking our target audience questions. Higher Education has a unique advantage in that our existing, or potential, customers are so easy to identify and research.
Students making last minute applications to Swedish universities would have had problems, and a ton of stress, last night when the studera.nu crashed for a few hours in the late evening. This was reported in more detail, and in Swedish, at the Aftonbladet site. As Aftonbladet reports, and as I know from my own experience, this is at least the third time this has happened during an application period.
First, this is just unacceptable for such an important service particularly one which, if I\’m correct, the universities themselves pay for.
The Twittersphere not unsurprisingly carried a lot of discussion about this, check out Twingly or Twitter Search to see. Most of the tweets are in Swedish but some are in English.
“NEWS: Due to a technical malfunction on Your pages, applicants get the wrong information about their eligibility status for master’s studies right now. As this glitch will be fixed by 12 March, we kindly ask you to disregard the following notes for the time being: ‘Requirements not fulfilled’, ‘Unqualified’, ‘Specific requirements not fulfilled’.”
I’ve had some comments about this here, and have seen that students are concerned by this (and quite rightly so) on the studera.nu facebook group – hopefully this will answer some concerns. I can’t imagine that things are going to be any calmer on the 13th March, however.
Andrei Neculau has been a driving force in helping international students with the application process but also in trying to lobby VHS (the organisation operating studera.nu) for change. He’s recently launched on facebook a call for students to leave comments about studera.nu, which he will incorporate into a report. I think this is a great idea, and if he does write a report I will do my best – within my role at Lund University -to make sure it gets read by the people who should read it.
So, visit the studera.nu facebook group and leave your comments – you’ll need to be a member of facebook, but that’s a painfree process. Alternatively, you can leave comments here, and I’ll pass them on to Andrei. Here’s what he said on facebook:
‘Write about the things that please or trouble you, write about the things that you like or don’t like, write about the things that you see fit to be part of this process and aren’t as of now, write about this Facebook community, etc. Each and every of your comments will help with writing a more comprehensive and a more balanced report.’
Apart from the fact that this is incredibly useful for people making applications to study in Sweden it’s also a great example of the future of the web (dare I say it, ‘web 2.0′). As it’s a wiki, it’s totally interactive and, crucially, not ‘owned’ by studera. Maybe in the future we’ll start seeing students creating their own university websites which become as useful, if not more so, than the university’s own website?