As a high school junior, I remember being confused by the Grinnell College website. The print material stood out from all other colleges, but the website failed to stand out (unless you count standing out because it looked more like the site of big finance firm despite being a progressive liberal arts college). Nevertheless, I considered Grinnell, and a visit to campus solidified my decision.
I wonder though.
How many high school students stop considering Grinnell because of its website? Is Grinnell even for those who fail look beyond the website? How many more applicants would there be if not for the website?
Despite the facts and figures that might be gleaned from these and other questions, I think only one question really and truly matters: How can we make the Grinnell College website stand out from the rest?
As students, we tend to avoid using the website. When we do, we come looking for something specific, and the first place we head to is the search box. Even this method leaves us dissatisfied more often than not.
When we tell others about Grinnell and point them to the website, it's with a disclaimer: "I swear! It's really a good school!"
Students, who live and thrive in a technological world, avoid the Grinnell College website. Perhaps this avoidance of technology in the midst of our tech-centric and tech-paced life provides the reason and solution itself to our avoidance.
Technology enables us to move faster through life. We communicate faster. We share photos and stories faster. We relay experiences and events faster. We find information faster. We get sucked in faster. But when we come to the Grinnell College website, we screech to a crawl.
Students do not just want a faster-paced College website. They need a fast-paced College website that allows them to communicate faster, share photos and stories faster, relay experiences and events faster, and, perhaps most importantly, find information faster. Only when this happens will we, college students, get sucked in to the College website.
We, the students present and future, hope the site renovation delivers a website that reflects our pride in standing out from the rest as Grinnellians.