New Report Explores How Prospective Students Use Online Tools for College Search and Choice

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mStoner, Inc. and TargetX’s digital admissions research offers rich insights into the nuances of prospective student behavior during the college selection process.

"The survey findings repeat what we and other researchers have heard for years: prospective students say that the website is their single most important source of information."– Michael Stoner, President and Co-Founder

mStoner, Inc. and TargetX collaborated to design a survey focusing on how prospective teen students use a range of digital tools — social media, websites, email, and digital ads — during their college search and selection process, and what information is most helpful at each stage of the journey. The report, Digital Admissions: How Prospective Students Use Online Tools for College Research and Choice, is now available

Digital Admissions offers insights from over 1,400 college-bound respondents and sheds light into the intricacies of prospective students' behavior as they decide their futures. This research unearths helpful statistics and observations that will help inform college and university digital admissions and enrollment marketing strategies.

Download the Digital Admissions white paper:

Key findings include:

54% of respondents said a college’s website was very or extremely important in their decision about whether to apply to that college.

73% of respondents have noticed college or university ads on their computer or mobile device. And of those who have, 56% have clicked on at least one.

33% of respondents said that they didn’t use social media at all to research colleges and universities, and numerous open-ended comments disparage social media.

“The survey findings repeat what we and other researchers have heard for years: prospective students say that the website is their single most important source of information,” noted Michael Stoner, president and co-founder of mStoner and a co-author of the report. “That’s true when they begin their search and it relevance and importance persists as they decide where to go to college — and after they’re admitted,”

The Digital Admissions report explores:

  • What content is important to prospective teens
  • Where to focus digital enrollment marketing time and energy for maximum ROI
  • Which digital tool has the highest impact throughout the entire prospective student journey
  • What prospective teens think when they see an institution's digital ads
  • Which colleges and universities showcase effective digital admissions tactics

About mStoner
mStoner, Inc. is a creative agency that builds elegant, creative, and effective solutions to your greatest digital challenges. We craft powerful, tailored, human-centric experiences to illuminate your brand and allow you to tell the story only you can tell. We connect you with the right audience at the right time so you can form right-fit relationships. We position your team for improved productivity, sustainable growth, internal alignment, and proof-positive success. And we aim to make your job fun again and help you create inspired work that you are proud to show off. Since 2001, we’ve worked with more than 350 colleges, universities, and professional schools in the U.S. and abroad. For much more, visit our website at

About TargetX
TargetX is reimagining the student experience with CRM solutions that span the student lifecycle. Built on the Salesforce platform — the worldwide leader in customer relationship management — TargetX offers comprehensive solutions for recruitment, admissions, and student success. TargetX helps over 350 higher ed institutions meet and exceed their enrollment and retention goals and, with world-class implementation and support teams, is a true partner for success. With its 20+ years of innovative technology and higher education expertise, TargetX is the most trusted CRM provider in higher education. To learn more, visit

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Travis Koury
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