Understanding Prospective Student Search Habits & Connecting Them With The Right Programs

Concurrent Session 2
Streamed Session

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Brief Abstract

Technology has changed the way prospective students conduct their research, and institutions must make their programs easier to find as a result. In this session, we’ll present research findings on how prospective students are searching for degree options. We’ll then give an exclusive demo of how Ranku, the online degree discovery engine, makes it easy for students to find the program that’s right for them.


With 14 years of senior-level experience in education sales, Sean Dunne joined Wiley Education Services in 2017 as the Director of New Partners, responsible for developing and presenting education solutions like Ranku for prospective higher education partners. In the past, he has worked at Follett, where he was recognized as one of the top technology sales reps in the country, and Frontline Education, where he focused on special education. Sean was drawn to education because “I enjoy the opportunity to do meaningful work by helping educators solve problems and achieve their goals.”

Extended Abstract

The online degree market continues to grow, but without the right strategies and tools, some of the best programs go undiscovered. Taking a market perspective, 96% of prospective students use the internet to research their desired field of study and the institutions that offer it. Additionally, 74% of prospective students say that online reviews and the effectiveness of an institution’s website are the two most important factors when choosing a school. This means that web presence is doing much of the initial work of describing an institution and program offerings.

Institutions need to examine how their web presence is structured in order to more effectively connect with potential online students. It is here where many prospects, at various stages of their decision journey, will come to seek answers to their questions as they evaluate their options. High-quality and carefully planned design and content not only enhance the user experience, but create a quality perception with potential students.

Ranku was built exclusively to address the related challenges to enrollment higher education institutions face. The innovative platform seeks to provide university systems, institutions, and community colleges a clear path toward attracting and engaging prospective students. By making it easy for prospective students to find the degree or program that best fits their needs, Ranku drives qualified inquiries to the institution’s doorstep. So how does it work?

Ranku works by aggregating all of an institution’s degrees and program offerings into one centralized, searchable location. The student-facing component of Ranku, what we call the Degree Marketplace, is where prospective students land when they search for a type of program, a specific program, or an institution in a search engine. Here prospective students can quickly search for, find, and compare information on all of an institution’s programs, even those from different schools within a university or institutions within a university system.

Ranku also provides an Analytics Dashboard, which presents easy-to digest data analytics for real-time insights into visitors’ behavior. The concept of the dashboard is similar to that of Google Analytics, but is designed specific to the field of higher education. With it, institutions are able to improve their understanding of prospective students’ behavior and thus improve efficacy at all stages of the funnel.

In this demo, we’ll walk through Ranku’s platform, exploring how it works and what makes it so compelling amid the increasingly competitive market for enrollments. You’ll learn how:

  • The Ranku Degree Marketplace displays programmatic information aligned with the preferred search habits of prospective students 
  • The easy-to-use Ranku Editing Suite allows Degree Marketplace content updates to occur within seconds 
  • Ranku’s Analytics Dashboard quickly provides data insights that matter most to institutions and administrators.

As the competition for enrollments in higher education rapidly increases, institutions need to utilize reliable strategies and technologies to remain competitive. With a streamlined platform for connecting with prospective students, institutions can better optimize for the student journey.

Participation is highly encouraged as there will be a Q&A session at the end of the interactive demonstration.