As is the case with its application process, navigating the Genesee Community College admissions Web site is "both free and easy." That is the determination of the National Research Center for College & University Admissions (NRCCCUA), a nonprofit education research organization headquartered in Lee's Summit, Mo.
The NRCCUA, in its seventh year of ranking collegiate admissions websites based on design and functionality, placed Genesee among the top 10 in the category of community colleges. Genesee was the only school in the Rochester region to make the top 10 in any of the categories.
"We always stress user-friendliness in our website design," said Patrick Collette, website coordinator at Genesee. "In the case of the admissions site, we went for a sleeker look - targeting the younger person."
Collette said a key aspect of the site was to make sure the applications link - "Apply Today!" - was on every page. "That's the main purpose - get applications."
John Reina, director of computer services at Genesee, commended Collette for a job well done. "I think it's very up-to-date, stylish and easy to get around on," Reina said. "It's user-friendly and just has a good look and feel to it."
The NRCCUA graded admissions websites of 3,039 postsecondary institutions. Its seventh annual Enrollment Power Index (EPI), a research-based analysis, rates how well the functionality and design of the website provides information to potential students to take them from prospect to applicant.
"Prospective college students are very Internet-savvy, and they have come to expect the admissions sections of university websites to provide critical information to help them make decisions," said Don Munce, president of the NRCCUA. "If the sites don't provide what they need, with the ease of navigations they expect, then they'll go elsewhere. A quality website can now be the difference between a lost prospect and a new student."
The study examined 28 different criteria that are divided into five main categories - prominence of an admissions office link on the institution's home page, admissions web page design and ease of navigation, online access to admissions material, additional admissions information and ability to contact the admissions office.
The highest rated school in the North region was Westminster Choir College of Rider. Capital University in the Midwest, Transylvania University in the South and Le Tourneau University in the West also had the highest rankings. Lewis University was the top-rated Catholic institution.
The top 10 rated schools in alphabetical order were Capital University, Georgia Southwestern State University, Indiana-Purdue University Fort Wayne, James Madison University, Le Tourneau University, Lewis University, Salem College, Transylvania University (the No. 1 rated college), Trinity Christian College and University of New Orleans.
For more information on the EPI study, please visit www.NRCCUA.org.