3 University and College Landing Page Examples Critiqued

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Are you trying to generate leads or web traffic for a university or college? Do you use landing pages? Are they optimized for conversions?

Whether you’re looking to learn the basics of landing page design or trying to refine your existing ones, it pays to be educated on what gets conversions and what doesn’t. 

In this article, I take a look at 3 real landing page examples to see what these colleges and universities are doing right and how they can improve.

Ready to learn? Class is now in session.

1. Academy of Art University

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What I like:

The eye-catching visual. It’s a little bit loud, but the colors match the landing page (which saves it from being too overwhelming). It definitely captures your attention and doesn’t make you look away.

The student testimonial. Testimonials go a long way, especially for universities and colleges. This one is great because it’s encapsulated and contrasts well with the page, as well as featuring the name of the student and the degree they have.

Lack of distractions. A common worst practice for landing pages is including links and menus that navigate the potential lead from the sole purpose of the landing page they’re currently on. The less options you give people, the less overwhelmed they’ll be (and more likely to take action). The Academy of Arts University landing page has a very minimal amount of distractions. These distractions are also called “leaks” because the lead can easily fall out of your landing page’s sales funnel. 

The word “free.” Value Propositions are what communicate the reward of whatever you may be offering. The reward vs. risk ratio of “free” is great, as there is nothing to lose when it comes to receiving a free information packet.

The vertical menu bar. Below the student testimonial, Academy of Art University has used a good tactic for their landing page. Vertical menu bars hide info that might not be necessary for all visitors interested in the university. As well, I love that “Majors” and “Programs” provides lists and doesn’t navigate to any other pages.

What I’d change or test:

The font. It’s not easy to see the headline or subheader font since it’s so thin. I would try testing a bolder font with more substance that stands out from the page.

The amount of form fields in the entry form. As soon as I first saw the entry form, I was intimidated by the large numbers of form fields I would have to fill out if I was actually interested in this program. 3-5 form fields would be more suitable for an information packet. Personally, I would only include first and last name, email and program of interest for this offer.

The Call-to-Action (CTA) button. This CTA contrasts well with the page, but its positioning should be tested above the fold. I would also test making it four times bigger. The bigger the better, right?

Changing the CTAs text. Did you know that changing your CTA copy can increase your click-through rate (CTR) by 161%? “Submit” is not good for click-throughs and “now” isn’t doing anything for the CTA either. I would suggest using a more actionable phrase such as, “Get my free info packet.” or something along those lines. Make it clear what they are getting out of clicking-through.

2. Daymar College

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What I like:

The headline. Positioned overtop the image, it implies that they’re a flexible college interested in working around other aspects of your life that are important to you. This would appeal to certain demographics such as mothers and people with full-time jobs.

The big red Call-to-Action (CTA). This CTA is encapsulated and above the fold. It’s a good size, and contrasts well with the blue information form.

What I’d change or test:

A directional cue. Faces draw in the eye of a visitor better than any other type of photo, and the eyes are the most alluring facial detail. Therefore, I would test a photo of the girl in the photo looking at the entry form to her right (this will cause visitors to follow the woman’s eyes).

Removing the navigation bar at the top of the page. When there’s a navigation bar on a landing page, your possible leads can get distracted and navigate elsewhere. This is not ideal  when the point of this landing page is to collect potential student’s info. This is called a “leaky page” because the leads do not follow the path they are intended to in the sales funnel.

Adding another trust factor. The telephone number and logo for Daymar College create a sense of trust, but something more convincing such as a student testimonial would further convince visitors to trust the page. College and university education is a high-priced item that people need to see a fair amount of verification for.

A benefit list. Instead of taking up so much space with the locations they offer (which could be hidden on the page with something more appropriate like a lightbox), they could talk about why someone would want to attend Daymar College. 

Detail a Unique Selling Point (USP) or Value Proposition.  It’s essential to have one or the other on a landing page. Value Propositions tell your visitors what they get out of your offer, and USPs are what set your business apart from competitors and/or their offers. 

3. Sprott Shaw College

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What I like:  

The flow of the landing page. It seems as though Sprott Shaw College is familiar with the pattern that most people read a web page in. Talk about the “F” formation. They pull you in by looking at the graphic, then you will see the overlaying headline, “Stop Searching, Start Learning.”

The directional cue. Another hint that they know what they’re doing when it comes to landing page design and optimization: they’re using a directional cue. Directional cues guide your around the page. They use are arrow that points down to the entry form once you get to the top right of the page.

No navigation bar or other distractions on the page. This landing page has a clear focus in the sales funnel – they’re looking for possible students to provide their info within the entry form.

The entry form. Speaking of, this form is laid out nicely and has an appropriate amount of form fields for the “ask,” as they are giving you information about their program in exchange for your personal info.

Use of white space. This landing page is nicely laid out and not overpowering. They make good use of white space to accentuate the important aspects of the page.

The trust factors*.* There are a few elements of the page that could instill trust in visitors. There are trust symbols located below the entry form, as well as the “we’ve been around 110 years symbol”, and the disclosure under the form saying that they won’t sell your email to anyone or send you spam.

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The value proposition. “GET UP TO $1000* OFF YOUR TUITION THIS SPRING”  works as their value proposition. The use of the dollar sign makes the offer straight-forward and easy to consume.

The “Sprott Shaw Advantage List.” This is somewhere in between a features and benefit list, but regardless It works well to set itself apart from other colleges. Benefit lists are generally more effective than feature lists because they tell the visitor exactly what they will get out of the offer, as opposed to just stating the components.

The page length and information covered. There aren’t any unnecessary images, multiple offers or irrelevant info. They cover what they have to in order to convince the visitor to become a lead, and not much more. This is good because a landing page should be as simple as it can be (while still being appealing and inviting).

A vertical menu bar. Like the first example, this landing page would benefit from having some of their information hidden. Their campus locations could be neatly tucked into a vertical menu bar at the bottom of the page.

What I’d change or test:

Use more variation when it comes to the text. There are a few immediate tweaks I would make when it comes to the landing page’s text. Making use of bullet-points and increasing the font size of the benefit list will make the points more obvious. In fact, the list of industries available below the benefits would be a more appropriate layout for the list.

When it comes to the subheader (below the graphic) I would also use a larger font to really make it obvious that you could get $1000 off your tuition for attending Sprott Shaw College.

A student review. These go a long way in convincing potential students that your college or university is actually legitimate.


So there you have it. Hopefully these landing page examples have inspired you to try tweaking a few things on your college or university’s page.

Check out these other articles on landing pages to boost your knowledge further:

Have you found landing page design best practices for colleges and universities to be pretty straightforward? Or have you had success or failure with unexpected changes?

Share your insights and stories in the comments below.

By Cara Tarbaj @ Wishpond



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