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Editorial: Continue revamping Brandeis website

Published: March 16, 2012
Section: Editorials


This week, the Office of Admissions finally unveiled a new website, updated to reflect just how Brandeis has changed during the last six years. The old site, built in outdated Web styles, featured students who have long since graduated. We applaud the university for publishing the new site.

Brandeis has invested considerable resources to improve its communication and marketing strategy during the past year. These changes are welcome but they are also long overdue. If Brandeis wants to attract the students that competing top-30 universities do, it must find creative ways to use technology and social media that place it ahead of its competitors.

The challenge for any university is to define its image and clearly state its mission so that prospective students understand what to expect form their college life experience. Most importantly, the university’s image must also explain how it differentiates itself from other similar schools. During the past year, under the leadership of a new president and senior management team, Brandeis has undertaken a strategic planning process to focus on the image it seeks to portray, the values it wants to prioritize and the academic achievements it needs to publicize.

But the effort to revitalize communication to new students should not end with launching an updated admissions website. While the redesign of the Brandeis homepage last year marked effective improvements highlighting the wide range of accomplishments and talents in the community, it still must be updated more frequently. For months, the same feature stories appear on the homepage. They are interesting to read and each of them promotes impressive achievements. But by leaving the same stories on the main sideshow for months on end, students will wonder what else is happening at Brandeis and why the page is not updated more often.

The main question on the admissions page, “Can you see yourself here?” is one that high school students visiting colleges across the country ask themselves each spring. As the admissions office mails its decisions this month and tries to convince admitted students to attend, it knows that the new website will enhance the prospects of increasing our yield rate. But the strength of the new page should remind the communications team of the work that remains for the rest of our website. If we want to continue rising as a top-tier university, we need to ensure our communications and marketing strategy continues to keep pace with 21st-century technology.