Content Considerations for Student Services

Naturally, the primary audience for student service departments is students. However, there are important considerations to make among types of students and other audiences to bear in mind.

Audiences

Current Students (and Parents)

UM-Flint departments providing student services know their audience well. The same amazing service students experience when they come to your office is what they expect when they come to your website; they want the same information and expect to be able to take the same actions. Making those experiences simple, straightforward, and positive is what customer service looks like online.

Future Students (and Parents)

Serving the needs of current students is fundamental to all student service departments. Still, certain units are particularly important to prospective students (and their parents) as they make decisions about where to enroll.

Future students seek information about:

  • tuition and other costs
  • financial aid and scholarships
  • housing options 
  • student life
  • the local community
  • academic and career advising
  • other available support services

Other Staff

Students don’t always approach the proper department for answers to their questions. All they may know is you work for the university and you’re supposed to be able to help them. 

That’s just one of the instances when staff members from outside your unit may visit your website. Keeping a list of the information other units say they need can help you make decisions about content to prioritize and emphasize.

Faculty

Students also expect faculty members to be able to answer questions about student services and processes for attaining those services. Keeping a list of the reasons faculty members visit your office will inform decisions about information they will want when they visit your website.

Media

This audience may seem surprising. Why should media care about student services and why should student services care about media? The truth is many campus events open to the public are born out of student service departments and related programs. Those event planners want to get the word out through media outlets, and members of the media are often looking to highlight events and programs with a public benefit.

It is also true that the state of higher education is always newsworthy, and many important indicators for making assessments about higher education’s current status, as well as more forward-looking trends and solutions, are found in student service units. What is financial aid doing to help students stay out of debt? What career services are available to help graduates get jobs? What role is technology playing in the recruitment and education of today’s best students?